WEST SHORE VOICE NEWS

 

FRONT PAGE BREAKING NEWS

News in support of successful living: business & economy, health & wellness, education, youth, the arts, politics, sustainability & social trends. Featuring news of the west side of Vancouver Island. 

Deeper stories and local news:   BC & NATIONAL | VANCOUVER ISLAND | LANGFORD | COLWOOD | VIEW ROYAL | METCHOSIN | SOOKE | JUAN de FUCAEVENTS


 

New LED directional arrows along Highway 14 near Gillespie Road, east of Sooke [West Shore Voice News photo – June 2018]

Wednesday, June 20 ~ SOOKE. If travelling on Highway 14 is part of your day for commuting, business or tourism, here’s your chance for public input on improvements to that long Corridor. It runs from Veterans Memorial Parkway in Langford, west through the communities of Sooke and Jordan River, all the way to Port Renfrew.

Yesterday evening in Sooke about 140 people attended a public open house regarding Highway 14 corridor improvements. Ministry staff felt the response of attendees was positive overall. About 20 feedback forms were handed in at the session. “We will assess the comments when the engagement period closes on July 15,” says MOTI.

The open house was an opportunity to present an update on previously announced projects that are underway for the corridor (including a major roadside announcement in Sooke by Premier John Horgan on January 19), and gather feedback from the community on future priorities for Highway 14. Materials from the open house, including the online feedback form, are available at www.gov.bc.ca/highway14

Public feedback is being considered along with technical, environmental and financial information. The resultant transportation improvements are intended to help ensure that Hwy 14 meets the needs of users in the short and long term. Public input can be provided up to July 15, 2018 online at gov.bc.ca/highway14 or by emailing comments to highway14@gov.bc.ca . Written feedback can be sent to MOTI, 3rd Floor, 2100 Labieux Road, Nanaimo, BC V9T 6E9

Various improvements already in the $10 million improvements plan include:

  • the installation of signalized lights at Sooke River Road (construction to begin Fall 2018).
  • a new eastbound lane added at Jacklin Road to allow transit to bypass the traffic queues at the signalized Jacklin Road intersection (construction to be completed by Fall 2018).
  • Bus pullouts have been installed (2 at West Shore Parkway, 2 at Laidlaw, 2 at Harbourview).
  • Arrows on the curve near Gillespie Road and the 17 Mile Pub have been installed, some of which are made more visible with LED. There is now also a flashing beacon at Kangaroo Rd.
  • Speed reader boards have been installed at Parkland Road.
  • Paving on Otter Point Road is being done this summer.
  • The Sombrio rest area design improvements are complete, with construction this summer. A slow vehicle pullout east of Muir Creek is being designed for construction this summer.

 


 

Recreation cannabis becomes legalized in Canada effective October 17, 2018 [photo credit: Shutterstock]

Wednesday, June 20 ~ BC. BC Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has issued the following statement regarding the federal Cannabis Act:

“Today, the Government of Canada has made history by announcing the end of a 95-year prohibition on non-medical cannabis, and confirming the legalization date of October 17, 2018. Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, creates a new national framework that provides access to a regulated supply of cannabis, while implementing restrictions to minimize the harms associated with cannabis use.

“This federal legislation creates a corresponding need for provincial and territorial governments to establish cannabis-related laws and regulations. That’s why BC recently passed legislation to ensure we have a responsible regulatory framework in place for the safe implementation of legalized cannabis throughout our province.

“We’re now focused on developing the regulations and supporting policies for the implementation of our provincial regulatory regime. We are also working on provincial public awareness and education campaigns, to ensure British Columbians have the information they need regarding legalization and our provincial regulations when they come into force.

“It’s important to remember that the date set by the federal government for cannabis legalization will just be the beginning. The legalization of cannabis is complex, and the Province is committed to monitoring the implementation and making any adjustments necessary to meet our provincial goals. This includes continuing to engage local governments and Indigenous governments and organizations beyond legalization, to ensure specific interests and concerns are addressed.”


 

US President Donald Trump signs executive order June 20, 2018 so that children are not separated from their parents when arriving as illegal immigrants. [CNN / livestream]

Wednesday, June 20 ~ USA. Today June 20, President Donald Trump reversed his argument that he had no authority to stop separations of undocumented immigrant families at the border, signing an executive order to keep parents and kids together.

“We’re signing an executive order. I consider it to be a very important executive order. It’s about keeping families together, while at the same time being sure we have a very powerful, very strong border,” Trump said.  He said that First Lady Melania Trump and daughter Ivanka Trump ‘had strong feelings’ about the separation of children from their parents.

Trump’s reversal came after facing intense pressure from around the world and across the political spectrum as well as from religious leaders and protest groups seen through the USA in recent days. All of the pushback conveyed shock and outrage at separating children from their parents, and holding them in prison-like conditions, presumably indefinitely. Recent media coverage had presented TV and audio news reports of crying children — some of whom were kept in cage-like detention centers.

The President claimed he isn’t backing down.  At the White House (livestreamed) he said: “The border is just as tough. But we do want to keep families together.

Trump said that no previous White House has had the “courage” to deal with immigration problems for the past 60 years.  He also listed off having dealt with other things under his administration that have not dealt with by previous administrations, like nuclear issues in Iran and North Korea.


 

Wednesday, June 20 ~ BC. The Province is establishing a new, publicly accessible registry of who owns real estate in British Columbia. It will be the first registry of its kind in Canada.

The Ministry of Finance says it will improve transparency in the real estate market. It will provide tax auditors and law enforcement agencies, as well as federal and provincial regulators, with information that will assist with their investigations.

British Columbians are invited to provide feedback on the white paper proposal until August 19, 2018.
Read the white paper: www.fin.gov.bc.ca/pld/fcsp/consultLOTA.htm

To share your comments, email to the Ministry of Finance at: fcsp@gov.bc.ca

The BC Government’s 30-Point Plan for Housing Affordability is here: http://bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf


 

Wednesday, June 20 ~ BC. The Government of British Columbia will establish rigorous new rules and expectations for the renewal of salmon farm tenures in BC waters, it was announced today, June 20.

“The challenges facing our wild salmon have been ignored for far too long,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “That’s why we are putting in place a new approach to provide clarity and outline our expectations moving forward for a sustainable industry that protects wild salmon, embraces reconciliation, and provides good jobs.”

The new requirements provide clarity on the salmon farming tenure process, establishing key criteria for tenures past 2022.

“We need to take the necessary steps – steps that should have been taken years ago – to ensure that fish farm operations do not put wild salmon stocks in jeopardy,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “The thousands of British Columbians who rely on our clean ocean waters for jobs, culture and recreation expect no less.”

Effective June 2022, the Province will grant Land Act tenures only to fish farm operators who have satisfied Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) that their operations will not adversely impact wild salmon stocks, and who have negotiated agreements with the First Nation(s) in whose territory they propose to operate.

A key court ruling in 2009 clarified that the federal government has the exclusive jurisdiction for regulating fisheries, including fish farms.

“We will look to DFO to bring the best science to determining where and under what conditions open-pen fish farms can operate without threatening wild salmon and other species,” Popham said.

The year 2022 aligns with the current renewal date of the substantial majority of fish licences issued by DFO.


 

Wednesday, June 20 ~ NATIONAL. Cannabis will be legal to buy and consume in Canada by about mid-September. The Senate voted yesterday, June 19, to pass the Liberal government’s Bill C-45 to bring the previously prohibited substance into legal use.

UPDATE at 3:15 pm –  “Today, the Government of Canada has made history by announcing the end of a 95-year prohibition on non-medical cannabis, and confirming the legalization date of Oct. 17, 2018. Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, creates a new national framework that provides access to a regulated supply of cannabis, while implementing restrictions to minimize the harms associated with cannabis use,” said BC Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, in a statement to media.

After Royal Assent, it will take provinces and other jurisdictions about 8 to 12 weeks to be ready for regulations and law enforcement.

The Senate vote on June 19 was 52-29. Of the Senate’s nearly four dozen amendments, 27 were accepted last week by the government and others were tweaked.

But 13 amendments were not accepted, including giving provinces the right to limit home grown cultivation and the number of cannabis plants that can be grown at home. The number of allowable plants will be four in all provinces. There was some effort in the Senate to have that amendment reinstated, but senators voted 45-35 to not insist on that change.

Most of the votes in the Senate against legalization were by Conservative senators, under direction from their leader Andrew Scheer. Liberal and independent senators were open to vote as they saw fit.

One Conservative Senator (Leo Housakos) predicts those presently involved in peddling illegal cannabis are becoming large corporations that will make a lot of money at the expense of vulnerable people.

The Liberal government has said all along that it wants to take cannabis profiteering out of the hands of criminals, and to aim for better safety for youth away from the black market.

It’s still not clear how effective driving-while-impaired enforcement can be in detecting TCH-affected drivers.

Canada is the first industrialized country to legalize cannabis nationwide. Several states in the USA have in recent years forged ahead with legalization. The industry is flourishing. Business pundits are calling this a brand new consumer growth product, something that is not often seen on the scope.

The full Bill C-45 is online at http://www.parl.ca/Content/Bills/421/Government/C-45/C-45_3/C-45_3.PDF

The Liberal government has said all along that it wants to take cannabis profiteering out of the hands of criminals, and to aim for better safety for youth away from the black market.


 

Insulin pump helps Type 1 diabetes patients maintain constant blood sugar levels.

Saturday, June 16 ~ BC.  An expansion of insulin pump coverage takes effect July 3. Announced June 12, this expansion will ensure that any diabetic person in BC has access to an insulin pump under PharmaCare if needed. Previously, insulin pump coverage for youth extended only to the age of 25 (and when the program was first introduced in 2008 covered children only to age 18).

BC Minister of Health Adrian Dix explained that many people over 25 years of age “have been forced to make the difficult choice between purchasing this device for their health, or foregoing it due to cost. Going forward, they won’t be put in this position,” said Dix in a media announcement.

An insulin pump is a medical device that more closely mimics the body’s natural insulin production than insulin injections. The pump is worn on the body at all times and delivers insulin through a thin tube (cannula). It allows greater freedom and blood glucose control, thus reducing the likelihood of long-term complications.

For young patients with type 1 diabetes, insulin pump therapy is associated with lower risks of severe hypoglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis and better glycemic control than insulin injection therapy, according to a study published October 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The cost of one pump runs from $6,000 to $7,000 and requires replacement every five years.

The pump system allows diagnosed diabetics to better manage their condition, improving quality of life and well-being, and preventing serious secondary conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to nerve damage, said Dix.

“Insulin pumps can also help prevent eye disease, kidney disease, amputations and a number of other complications related to diabetes,” says Ramya Hosak, executive director and co-founder of Young and T1, a BC-based and volunteer-run organization for young adults living with Type 1 diabetes.

“Following through on a pledge made by Premier John Horgan, the provincial government is removing the age restriction for insulin pump coverage,” said Dix. About 485,000 people in BC live with diabetes. An estimated 830 adults will benefit from the expansion in the first year.

BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver made a statement of support for the decision. “Insulin pumps are not only an effective tool for patients to manage a very dangerous disease, they’re also a preventative and cost-effective measure for our healthcare,” said Weaver.

BC is the third province to cover the cost of insulin pumps for diabetics, regardless of age. To young Type 1 diabetics living in the province, it comes as a huge relief. “Diabetes Canada commends the provincial government for making this decision. Type 1 diabetes doesn’t stop at age 25, and we are so pleased that insulin pump coverage won’t also,” says Sheila Kern, regional director of BC and Yukon Diabetes Canada. “The burden of worrying about how to continue insulin therapy after the age of 25 can be very heavy, but this decision put through by the Horgan administration will help lessen it.”

Physicians in BC who provide continuous care to diabetic patients receive a diabetes management incentive payment. In 2017-18, more than 3,400 family doctors received that payment for over 208,300 patients.

Aging populations, increasing urbanisation, and widening social inequalities (including poverty) are contributing factors to the rapid rise in diabetes prevalence over the past 40 years, it was reported in The Lancet this week.


Friday, June 15 ~ SOOKE.  A survey about health services in Sooke is online at www.sooke.ca/health. Ongoing updates regarding Sooke Region Primary Care will also be posted at that site following this weekend’s open house on health planning in the region.

The survey focuses on use of the existing West Coast Family Medical Clinic. Questions include whether or not you already have a family doctor, and where you go for urgent care with the West Coast Family Medical Clinic is closed.

The open house on Saturday, June 16 will be hosted by the District of Sooke, South Island Division of Family Practice, and Island Health to present the Sooke Region Community Health Services Planning document. It runs from 1 to 4 pm, at Sooke Baptist Church, 7110 West Coast Road.

“Community Health Service planning has brought together multiple partners focused on developing local solutions for Sooke,” states the District of Sooke. They are providing the open house as an opportunity for the community to learn about the planning document, the priorities identified, and the proposed objectives to support improved access to health care in the region.

Financial resources and responsibility for public health care rest largely within the provincial government, making the role of local government one of advocacy.

Members of the community discussed target health service issues at the May 2016 Sooke Health Summit [West Shore Voice News photo]

In December of 2013, a Primary Health Care Services Working Group (PHCSWG) was formed, based on input from the community and an existing municipal initiative to address broad health and social needs.

The PHCSWG brings together local and regional health care professionals, and since 2013 the group has tackled a multitude of community health needs, including physician recruitment, improved medical imaging services (X-ray and ultrasound), Sooke X-Ray Briefing Document 2016 (In late 2017, West Coast Medical Imaging improved the X-Ray technology available in Sooke), collaborating on research and programming regarding the support needs of senior citizens, advocacy for continued support of existing health infrastructure, and hosting two community forums to collect input on community needs and share resources.

That was followed by a Health Summit in May 2016 at Sooke Community Hall, with break-out groups where discussion drilled down into specific issues.

The District of Sooke admits that the idea of a “one-stop shop” Health Care Centre has been discussed in Sooke for more than a decade, with several proposals coming forward during that time. Varying circumstances have halted each proposal, but the need for expanded primary care has not changed.

It was announced by the BC Government last week that this fall a full team-based primary care centre will open in Surrey, where a larger population is ideal for the initiative.

The focus of the PHCSWG in Sooke over the past year has been on further exploring improved Primary Health Care for the Sooke Region. A steering committee which includes representation from Island Health was tasked with moving this initiative forward, with a stakeholder engagement session held in November 2017. The Sooke Region Community Health Planning Document outlines the key themes and priorities from this session.


 

Friday, June 15 ~ SOOKE. Things are moving along with continued changes to commuter routes (highways and bus lanes).

Last week four of the six bus shelters along Hwy 14 (Sooke Rd) were seen to be in place; all to be finished soon and some clearly already in use. There are also some new LED large arrow signs along the curve near the 17-Mile pub.

For those who drive into Victoria from the west shore, note that the left turn from Hwy 1 onto Carey Road was closed as of June 10, making way for the new northbound bus lane.

Heading northbound on Hwy 1 out of Victoria, toward the west shore. [West Shore Voice News – June 2018]

This week construction crews began building a new two-lane bridge on Gillespie Road at Roche Cove, which is an important alternative route to Hwy 14 during those closures that cause considerable traffic delays when there’s a crash or bad weather conditions on the Hwy 14 corridor that is so essential for Sooke commuters.

  • The $3.66 million contract work by North Gate Pacific Contracting Ltd. of Maple Ridge includes a two-lane concrete bridge on an improved road alignment, with 1.5-metre paved shoulders for safer crossing by pedestrians and cyclists. It will replace the existing single-lane timber bridge, and is expected to open to traffic in fall 2018.
  • In the coming weeks and months, delays of up to 20 minutes may occur 9am to 3pm Monday to Saturday to accommodate rock blasting.
  • There will also be a small number of full-day closures which will be posted in advance on roadside message signs, with a detour via Kangaroo Rd and East Sooke Rd.

The Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure will be holding a public input opportunity in Sooke soon. Many Sooke-area businesses and residents have for years been calling for Hwy 14 to be a more reliable commuter route in and out of the town. Improvements to highway infrastructure and public transit are being seen as the response from the provincial government under Premier John Horgan, who is MLA for the region.

[Updated from the article that first ran in the June 8, 2018 West Shore Voice News print/PDF edition]


 

Friday June 15 ~ BC. Today June 15, 2018, changes to Rules under the Real Estate Services Act that dictate how REALTORS® work with consumers have come into effect. The Rules, mandated by the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) and finalized on April 27, 2018, have been amended to ensure that REALTORS® make adequate disclosures, so that consumers can make informed decisions. For many Realtors, the changes mean diminished financial returns in their overall sales income.

“BCREA, together with the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC), has been hard at work to update the Applied Practice Courses for new licensees. BCREA has also been updating its continuing education courses and nearly two dozen standard legal forms that have been impacted by the changes,” said British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) CEO Darlene Hyde. “The new rules governing real estate practices mark a significant shift in how REALTORS® in BC work with their clients. It’s important that consumers know what to expect when the changes come into effect.

”REALTORS®, consumers and conflicts of interest:  One of the changes is a ban on dual agency. Dual agency occurs when a REALTOR® represents more than one party in a real estate transaction. That can be a buyer and a seller, two or more buyers, or a landlord and a tenant. The ban was recommended by RECBC’s Independent Advisory Group in 2016. Exemptions will be possible in limited circumstances. Under the prohibition on dual agency a real estate agent cannot represent two clients with competing interests at the same time.

REALTORS®, consumers and compensation:  From June 15, REALTORS® are required to make more disclosures on the commissions they receive on transactions. Once the amendment comes into effect, a REALTOR® must give the seller a copy of the disclosure form before presenting each offer or counter-offer from potential buyers. This form explains how the commission will be shared with other brokerages involved in the transaction (the buyer’s brokerage) and any other payments the REALTOR® expects to receive as a result of the transaction.

BCREA has worked with its 11 member boards “to make these changes as seamless and as transparent as possible,” says BCREA. Despite that, the BC Green Party issued a statement one day ago (June 14) in response to “ongoing concerns expressed…by realtors across BC”. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver “is once more calling on the Minister of Finance and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate to extend the timeline for the introduction of the real estate rule changes”. The changes had already been delayed once — they were to first come into effect March 15, 2018.

BCREA says they are actively working to educate REALTORS® on the implications of these changes so they can continue to serve consumers with integrity and professionalism when the Rule changes come into effect.

“These changes will profoundly alter for the foreseeable future the way consumers initially interact with their REALTOR® and the ban on limited dual agency will have a negative impact on consumer choice with respect to their selection of REALTOR® in some circumstances,” said Hyde. “BCREA has done its utmost to facilitate the transition to the new Rules and we stand behind a strong regulatory regime, informed and knowledgeable customers and professional REALTORS®.”

For more information on the Rule changes: https://knowledge.recbc.ca/


 

Five mayors of the West Shore Parks & Recreation Society owner municipalities at their June 14, 2018 AGM (far row from left): Ken Williams (Highlands), Carol Hamilton (Colwood), David Screech (View Royal); and (back to camera): Councillor Denise Blackwell (Langford), and John Ranns (Metchosin). [West Shore Voice News photo]

Thursday, June 14 ~ WEST SHORE. Tonight the five municipalities that own the West Shore Parks & Recreation facility disbanded their board. [View this article on its own page]

While mayors (or their reps) around the table for the 2018 Annual General Meeting gave assurances that the West Shore Parks & Recreation Society board and staff were not the problem, the boom came down.

Effective immediately, the five municipal owners (Langford, Colwood, View Royal, Metchosin and Highlands) will run the show. ‘Time to push the reset button’, was a phrase used often this evening, June 14. The five mayors will be represented by the Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) of their municipalities.

It’s a rather unique setup, an interim board to — in part — carry the WSPR entity relatively intact through the fall municipal election period (during which mayors will be otherwise occupied) and into the 2019 home stretch of the current agreement. The current West Shore Parks & Recreation ownership agreement expires in April 2019.

Rumblings for change began in the last few years and intensified this year, as Langford with its seven new recreational facilities in seven years began to feel as though its annual contribution to WSPR was becoming out of balance with the benefits gained for Langford residents. At tonight’s WSPR AGM Langford Councillor Denise Blackwell said: “Langford pays a great deal and we also fund our own facilities. We’ve felt an inequity in the amount that Langford is paying for recreation,” she said. And joining the chorus of similar statements around the table: “It’s not about the members of the board or staff – it’s owners with the most issues,” said Blackwell.

Outgoing chair of the West Shore Parks & Recreation Society board, Ed Watson (left) and Metchosin Mayor John Ranns, at the June 14 AGM [West Shore Voice News photo]

When WSPR began, there were few recreational amenities in Langford. After how long it took to get the Q Centre (behind the main Juan de Fuca Rec Centre building at 1767 Island Highway) up and running, Langford’s Mayor Stew Young took recreational initiatives in Langford under the control of his municipality. Langford now has sports fields, ice rink and arena, a bowling alley, and access to the pool within the Langford YM-YWCA.

The five mayors running this show are Stew Young (Langford), Carol Hamilton (Colwood), David Screech (View Royal), John Ranns (Metchosin), and Ken Williams (Highlands). Until last year the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (JDFEA) was also a member, but JDFEA Mike Hicks managed to get his area out of the deal over evidence of minimal usage by JDFEA residents.

The current five mayors met mid-May to discuss the findings and recommendations in a report known as ‘the Huggett report’ (by consultant Jonathan Huggett) which was commissioned for $25,000 to review the terms of reference and find a way forward for recreation in the west shore that is presumably more equitably contributed to.

“The Huggett Report takes us one step forward,” said Metchosin Mayor John Ranns during the AGM. “It’s a preliminary report and we’re following the footsteps. It’s nothing against the board and good works that people have done.” Ranns said that the interim board is “the only means we could find” to break the current impasse of budget and funding issues.

In part, those issues are underscored by staff that may have been left rudderless for vision and direction – perhaps by a combination of ownership being one-step-removed (mayors were not members of the WSPR board), extended absence of a senior staff person away for health reasons, and perhaps a lack of organization around ‘moving forward’ in various levels of business development.

For Ranns to say this evening that “we fired ourselves” was a bit of humble pie, as mayors now fully hold the reins through their CAOs.

Highlands Mayor Ken Williams said “the board did the best they could do with the tools given to them”. He said the new arrangement was a way for achieving “maximum potential for this facility”.

At tonight’s WSPR AGM — held in the Fieldhouse behind the Juan de Fuca Rec Centre – board chair Ed Watson clearly stated that he felt that collapsing the current board was “about money”. Indeed, Langford in particular has been looking for a new formula for a couple of years now, one that will see its annual contribution (requisition) to WSPR be more representative of how much benefit Langford residents get from the facility. Now it sounds like all five member municipalities are on board for something equitable.

Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton tonight said “it’s about the ownership and productivity, and how we support this facility to see it thrive”, adding her support for CAOs to run the ship while mayors are busy during the election period.

The other aspect about money has been a revenue shortfall, which municipalities flagged as a problem and essentially (through objection by member councils) froze the WSPR budget at 2016 levels. Staffing costs have gone up, so have (or soon will be) some of the admission and facility fees. A little revenue burst was seen in the last year or so from adjusting the rental arrangements of the LED display sign at the roadside. But use of the curling rink and Q Centre and many of the field areas have been underutilized, perhaps through a lack of leadership, vision or operational know-how.

It now seems long ago (though it was only March 1) that Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton issued a surprisingly forthright statement including that “Colwood is fighting for West Shore Parks and Recreation’s survival by advocating for a sustainable financial plan. We risk losing West Shore Parks and Recreation if owner municipalities act in their own interests rather than honouring their contractual obligations.” Much of that seemed targeted toward Langford.

But at tonight’s WSPR AGM it was pretty much ‘smiles all around’, with all five municipalities on board – if not actually excited – to be going into a transitional phase in which they feel they will have an opportunity to rethink the financial model for delivery of recreation services in their five west shore areas.

Recreation is understood among most of the WSPR community leadership as well as users as more than just the facilities themselves. The rec centre, arenas, pool, golf course, seniors centre and other amenities are the ways and means for community groups, sports teams, and many sectors of the community to gather, be active, recreate and learn.

The Q Centre is owned and operated by the West Shore Parks & Recreation Society [West Shore Voice News photo – June 2018]

That the problems suffered by WSPR facilities and budget mishaps has been “about money” is the nugget of it all. With 2018 fee-based revenues being only about half of the expenditures lined out in the budget, for some municipalities it has felt as through their per-resident requisition payments have somehow been increasingly pitched into a black hole.

While disbanding of the WSPR volunteer board of 14 people (elected reps from each municipality plus non-elected appointees) was done as graciously as could be hoped for, it was a clear reclaiming of power by the top levels of municipal government. The CAOs (the most senior staff person of each municipalities) have already rolled up their sleeves and begun the necessary processes for discussions and moving forward. There’s no moss on this rolling stone that will see new decisions for recreation in the west shore being made by new councils after the October 2018 election.

While the faces of the five councils are likely to be refreshed in October 2018, few if any of the current five mayors as incumbents are expected to fail at re-election. So this period where senior municipal staff are effectively in charge of the region’s largest recreational facility for at least the next six months, it’s likely that the mayors chose this method of disbanding their volunteer board as a way to maintain control, until the agreement can be rewritten ahead of April 2019 with a rebalancing of the financial requirements that will be expected of each municipality after that.

At present, requisitions into WSPR are paid strictly on population count. Langford is growing fast but can likely profess that fewer uses of the Juan de Fuca Rec Centre and adjoining facilities are by Langford residents, many of whom are staying closer to home using newer and a different range of facilities. In the 2017 WSPR annual report it shows a total population for the five-municipality region being just under 70,000. Of that, Langford has 50.7% of that count, with Colwood at 24.2%, View Royal 14.9%, Metchosin 6.8% and Highlands 3.2% (JDFEA had 0.2% population count in that formula until leaving the arrangement). Population growth for that combined group of municipalities was 32.2% over 10 years (2006 to 2016).

The Juan de Fuca Parks & Rec fieldhouse, on the lower fields behind the main rec centre [West Shore Voice News photo – June 2018]

For 2018, the required requisitions (based on the 2016 “approved amounts”) is listed in the annual report as totalling $4,947,539. That is comprised of $2,511,736 from Langford, $1,110,077 from Colwood, $725,839 from View Royal, $422,583 from Metchosin, and $177,304 from Highlands. This makes up 48.1% of required revenues to keep things running.

Expenditures based on the 2016 (most recently approved) budget were $11,643,688. So that leaves a difference (after incoming municipal requisitions, and depending on which year’s figures are crunched) of about $6,696,149. That’s where fee-based services come in, to provide the rest.

The biggest fee-based revenue generators in terms of percentage contribution to the revenues, are aquatics (7.89%), food and beverage services (6.55%), licensed care (6.55%), fitness and wellness (5.84%), and the Q Centre mostly anchored by The Shamrocks and The Grizzlies sports teams (4.93%). That’s followed by sports and curling, JdF Arena, Preschool to Youth, Arts & Culture, golf, seniors centre, and community recreation/development.

Earlier this year a projected transfer of $721,455 was expected to be needed this year from the capital surplus (a fund generally used for larger maintenance projects and new initiatives). The WSPR sees value in continuing to subsidize areas of its operations, including a subsidy in 2018 of $347,135 to operate the JdF arena ($4.26 per user/year), $289,462 to operate the swimming pool ($2.07 per usage/year), the Q Centre with a subsidy of $164,974 ($2.10 per usage/year), and the curling rink ice with a subsidy of $103,866 ($20.61 per usage/year).

The meeting wrapped up with a relatively tense debate about whether one of the five CAOs would represent the WSPR Society at the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association (GVLRA) public sector employer’s bargaining agency. WSPR board chair Ed Watson did remind the gathered mayors that an elected official is to participate at GVLRA meetings. Mayor Ranns said “leave it to the CAOs to figure it out”, in that they would check with GVLRA to see if one of the interim reps (CAOs) could attend GVLRA meetings instead of one of the mayors. Mayor Screech said he felt it could be a conflict for a CAO (staff) to participate in labour negotiation discussions.


 

Wednesday, June 13 ~ BC.  Today Premier John Horgan announced an extension of the The Recovery Transition Program for periods of 30 days, up to 90 days. This is in partnership with the Red Cross, which will provide support and financial assistance to people who cannot return to their homes.

Speaking in a teleconference out of Grand Forks today June 13, Horgan said the funds are for living expenses and for people to get back into homes.

The Recovery Transition Program  will provide support and financial assistance to people who cannot return to their homes. The BC government will match donations made to the Canadian Red Cross, dollar for dollar. Donations can be made at https://donate.redcross.ca

“Throughout last year’s wildfires and floods, and during this year’s spring floods, the Canadian Red Cross stepped up to support our government and British Columbians in times of need,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “In a catastrophic emergency, the Red Cross’s experience, systems and technology will support our local government-managed emergency social services, to reach people as quickly as possible.”

Horgan said that the province has the responsibility to see that every citizen is safe and well cared for, with local government being responsible for ESS and decisions about rebuilding. One infrastructure direction might be the construction of dikes, which is being discussed in Grand Forks this evening.


 

BC Premier John Horgan [West Shore Voice News file photo – May 2018]

Wednesday, June 13 ~ BC. BC Premier John Horgan told media this afternoon that he is “not at all disappointed” with the coming of soccer to North America in 2026. “It’s good for soccer fans,” he said in a media teleconference.

Horgan added: “I do not regret the decision we made for support for the bid, based on a lack of a final number from FIFA.” He reiterated that BC is “not prepared to write a blank cheque”, itemizing that at the time there were no definitive answers on the numbers of games that would be played in Vancouver, or about the costs of closing of BC Place, nor a final dollar figure (which would have included a hefty security expense).

Keeping the provincial budget in mind, and soon now having to fund flood restoration in Grand Forks and the efforts required in the summer fire season, Horgan said “most taxpayers will be grateful for that decision”.

On the matter of Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog deciding to run for Mayor of Nanaimo this fall, Horgan told media: “Leonard Krog has thought long and hard about it” and that people have been urging Krog to bring stability to Nanaimo council with the longstanding local belief that Krog can bring stability to that municipal government. Horgan said Krog will stay on until the Fall 2018 municipal  election period, and “I wish him well”. Krog would stay on in the BC legislature if he does not win the Nanaimo mayoralty seat.


Announced in Moscow June 13,, a united bid by Canada, US & Mexico won for hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup. [screenshot]

Wednesday, June 13 ~ CANADA. Soccer is about to grow big in Canada!

Today June 13 it was announced at the FIFA tournament in Moscow that Canada will co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, along with the USA and Mexico. The United bid beat out Morocco which has bid on the World Cup opportunity five times.

Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal are Canadian candidate host cities for the men’s soccer showcase, expanded to 48 teams for the 2026 tournament. The current blueprint calls for Canada and Mexico to stage 10 games each, with the USA hosting 60.

Mexico has twice hosted the World Cup, in 1970 and 1986. The US hosted in 1994.

Building up teams toward 2026 will be a big boost to soccer in Canada. On the west shore of Vancouver Island, there is a BC team for new pro soccer Canadian Premier League, central to Victoria; the inaugural league season starts April 2019 with games at Westhills Stadium in Langford (as announced June 1). In Langford there is a soccer academy at local highschools in the SD62 school district, giving an opportunity for youth to learn the sport.

Vancouver will not be hosting any of the FIFA games, as the BC government was wary of what were seen as open-ended cost commitments expected by FIFA. “The FIFA bid agreement contained clauses, which government felt left taxpayers at unacceptable risk of additional costs,” said BC Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Lisa Beare today in a statement. “We tried very hard to get assurances that addressed our concerns. Unfortunately, those assurances were not forthcoming,” Beare added: “I am happy for Canadian soccer fans that some of the World Cup matches are coming to Canadian host cities.”


Former BC Premier Mike Harcourt and former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall addressed a housing forum, June 12 in Victoria [West Shore Voice News photo]

Tuesday, June 12 ~ VICTORIA.  There is a housing problem in BC. [Read this article on its own page]

Today June 12 a lineup of politicians (past and present) and a spectrum of development-industry leaders not only agreed about that, but about the solution: increase supply. This was addressed to about 400 people over lunch at the Roundhouse at Bayview Place in Esquimalt. It was a diverse audience of political and business leaders, joined by a wide range of the business community, public, and media.

The event conveyed a clear message that the BC Speculation Tax would be harmful to the BC economy overall and the housing market specifically (especially renters), tagged with a further message that getting creative with growing the economy is more successful for all sectors than is additional and situation-specific taxation.

Former  BC NDP Premier Mike Harcourt clarified at the outset: “It’s not a housing crisis, it’s a permanent condition in BC.”  He expanded on that, saying that sustainability and housing affordability is a problem all over the world. Saying that the 21st century is “a century of cities”, Harcourt and other speakers really turned to local governments as part of the problem and much of the solution.

Cities have the power to change zoning, and handle the processes for development permits more promptly and efficiently. “City halls are causing a huge amount of the increase in the cost of housing,” Harcourt said. When developers hold onto property for lengthy periods, the cost of interest to wait for the development green light ultimately gets passed onto homebuyers.

At housing forum June 12 in Victoria: former BC Liberal cabinet ministers Peter Fassbender and Todd Stone, with Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps [West Shore Voice News photo]

Former BC Liberal cabinet minister for communities Peter Fassbender, and himself a former mayor (of Langley), said that municipalities need to “look at their community and decide what they want it to be”. He also said that the key for community development success is to “build the economy and let the economy become the driver of those things”.  He is worried that investment is “leaving the province, or not coming to BC, or stalling” because of the current government’s tax policy “that has not been well thought out”.

On the matter of what type of housing needs to be built in BC, Fassbender said that single family homes as the mainstay of the housing market is not going to change, it already has changed. He has listened, and hears that young people are “into living a different lifestyle” that would be served by higher density housing and more efficient transit systems for the target communities. That in turn allows for young talent to live in larger centres where the high-tech jobs of the future are located. People who are displaced from the city areas “have no place to go”, Fassbender said.

“To deal with affordability, you build the economy, then let the entrepreneurial spirit loose and let people build the economy,” said Fassbender.

Former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall took a moment to ask everyone in the room – indeed, all Canadians – to show their support for the current federal government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in their current battle of words and tariffs with the US President and White House team. Negative comments hurled at Trudeau by top White House officials following last weekend’s G-7 Summit have shocked many, including citizens across the United States and Canada.  Tweets, letters, emails… it all helps. “Trudeau deserves the support of every single Canadian,” said Wall, urging people in the room to keep this support “top of mind, front of mind”.

Wall questioned the likelihood of the BC Speculation Tax as being able to “address the goal of the tax”. If more rental vacancy is the goal, does this tax which starts at 0.5% this year (going up to 1% in 2019 for affected residents in BC and 2.0% for non-Canadians) serve to truly increase rental supply? Brad Wall suggests “this tax will affect mostly people of means”.  Indeed, some political opponents of the tax have called it an ‘envy tax’.

Langford Mayor Stew Young (second from left) discussing housing issues at forum in Victoria June 12 [West Shore Voice News photo]

There were many gems of wise counsel during today’s session. As one part of the solution it was suggested by one of the speakers that the provincial and federal governments essentially take a heavier hand with municipalities, and direct the local governments to make appropriate housing-related zoning changes. If the directive comes like that ‘from above’, this will relieve local politicians of the natural impediment to avoid doing something unpopular.

Langford’s success with zoning efficiencies was mentioned. Afterward Langford Mayor Stew Young said that zoning approvals are frequently achieved within three months, and that building permits can often be issued in about 48 hours.  This helps developers get on with the job of building homes.

Stew Young agrees with the idea of the capital gains tax being increased from 7% to 10%, an idea that was floated during the formal presentations. The increase could be directed toward development of affordable housing. He added that additional taxation “steals assets from hard working families”.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps addressed the crowd at the start of the lunch.  She summarized that Victoria’s economy has been prosperous “but it’s not going to stay that way until we crack the housing nut”. She pitched for the BC Government to find something “in place of the speculation tax”.

The crowd was served coffee, an appetizer, lunch and dessert during the 2-hour session of speeches, panel presentations, and questions from the audience. The day was hosted as the 6th Annual Kenneth W. and Patricia Mariash Global Issues Dialogue. Ken Mariash spoke highly of the zoning and permit efficiencies in Langford, and that a speculation tax only works when there is no supply issue.

Increasing housing supply was the main overall going-forward message of the day.  The BC Government’s 30-point plan does outline various programs and funding initiatives to increase housing supply – the promised 114,000 units over 10 years, but much of that is targeted to specific socioeconomic groups and not a direct support to the development industry that produces the housing units that are needed in BC. Recent research by the BC Non-profit Housing Association shows that 34,167 more housing units will be needed in the Greater Victoria area by 2038.


 

Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog

Tuesday, June 12 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND.  What this will do for the fragile state of the BC NDP/Green balance of power in the BC Legislature is what grabs public attention over the expected announcement that long time NDP MLA Leonard Krog will run for mayor of Nanaimo in the October 20 municipal election. His announcement is expected at 5 pm tomorrow June 13 in Nanaimo.

The 41 NDP seats under John Horgan are propped up by three Green seats for a functioning minority government considered ‘progressive’, with the BC Liberals holding 42 seats. If Krog relinquishes his MLA seat, a by-election would need to be called within six months.

Krog was first elected to the BC Legislature in 1991 in the riding of Parksville-Qualicum. He lost in 1996, but regained a seat in 2005 in the Nanaimo constituency. In 2003 he ran for the leadership of the NDP but lost to Carole James who is now the province’s finance minister and who enjoys a degree of immunity from Horgan.

Krog won the Nanaimo riding again in 2017 but was not invited into the Horgan cabinet last year after the NDP formed government. But he is Government Caucus Chair. He previously served as the Official Opposition spokesperson for Justice (Attorney General).


 

Tuesday, June 12 ~ VICTORIA. Today in Victoria a think-tank over lunch will be held to discuss the broader issues of housing supply and demand.

The 6th Annual Kenneth W. and Patricia Mariash Global Issues Dialogue being held at the Roundhouse at Bayview Place in Esquimalt will feature some high profile speakers from a mix of political backgrounds and perspectives: former BC NDP premier Mike Harcourt, former Conservative Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall and the urban-progressive Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Pegged as a ‘let’s talk’ session, the discussion of the BC housing crisis will include prices and supply, the BC speculation tax, urban growth and the cost of regulations, issues of zoning and permitting.

A discussion panel includes Focus Equities owner and Bayview Place developer Kenneth Mariash, president of Reliance Properties Jon Stovell, and former BC Liberal cabinet minister Peter Fassbender who held the portfolio of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and was Minister responsible for TransLink.

Sure to come up is the impact of the BC government’s speculation tax, that business experts say will cause more problems for housing supply in urban areas, not less. Overall, greater housing density seems to be the way forward for growing communities in BC, which includes efficiencies with transportation and public transit.

Langford is the fastest-growing community on south Vancouver Island, where issues of commuter congestion come second only to housing. “I hope this seminar will shed light on how damaging the speculation tax will be for Langford’s economy and jobs, especially at Bear Mountain which is our largest employer base and brings the most international and national sport events and tourist visits to Langford and region,” says Langford Mayor Stew Young.

The event today is coordinated by the United Nations Association in Canada, hosted by Ken Mariash and Kathryn White, President and CEO of UNA Canada, with moderator Peter Legge.


 

Bus shelter on Sooke Road (Hwy 14), newly installed June 2018 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Sunday, June 10 ~ WEST SHORE & SOOKE. Things are moving along with continued changes to commuter routes (highways and bus lanes).

  • This past week four of the six bus shelters along Hwy 14 (Sooke Rd) were seen to be in place; all to be finished soon.
  • For those who drive into Victoria from the west shore, note that the left turn from Hwy 1 onto Carey Road will be closed as of June 10, making way for the new northbound bus lane.
  • Construction crews will begin building a new two-lane bridge next week on Gillespie Road at Roche Cove, which is an important alternative route to Hwy 14 during those closures that cause considerable traffic delays when there’s a crash or bad weather conditions on the Hwy 14 corridor that is so essential for Sooke commuters. The $3.66 million contract work by North Gate Pacific Contracting Ltd. of Maple Ridge includes a two-lane concrete bridge on an improved road alignment, with 1.5-metre paved shoulders for safer crossing by pedestrians and cyclists. It will replace the existing single-lane timber bridge, and is expected to open to traffic in fall 2018. In the coming weeks and months, delays of up to 20 minutes may occur 9am to 3pm Monday to Saturday to accommodate rock blasting. There will also be a small number of full-day closures which will be posted in advance on roadside message signs, with a detour via Kangaroo Rd and East Sooke Rd.
  • The Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure is reportedly holding a public input opportunity in Sooke soon. Many Sooke-area businesses and residents have for years been calling for Hwy 14 to be a more reliable commuter route in and out of the town. Improvements to highway infrastructure and public transit are being seen as the response from the provincial government under Premier John Horgan, who is MLA for the region.

 

Traffic backed up after fatal crash on Hwy 1 about 3.5 km south of the summit, June 9. [Photo posted on Facebook]

Saturday, June 9 ~ MALAHAT.  A head-on collision of two vehicles on the Malahat section of Highway 1 on south Vancouver Island today Saturday June 9 has resulted in the death of a man, and two women injured. At 1 pm, West Shore RCMP, Malahat Fire Rescue and BC Ambulance Service responded to the vehicle incident.

West Shore RCMP this evening have reported that the man driving a southbound vehicle was pronounced deceased at the scene, and that a woman passenger in that vehicle was transported to hospital with serious injuries. A woman who was driving a northbound vehicle was also transported to hospital with injuries.

“The Coroner attended the collision scene and notification of next of kin is being completed with the family. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in this fatal collision and police investigators are gathering evidence as to the level of impairment of the female driver and any driving evidence observed by witnesses,” says Cpl. Chris Dovell.

The highway remained closed for several hours while the West Shore RCMP Traffic Unit and RCMP South Island Traffic Services Collision Analyst conducted the collision investigation. This highway closure was expected to cause delays for travellers and police are asking for patience while investigators complete their examination of the collision scene.


 

Saturday, June 9 ~ LANGFORD. Traffic delays on Highway 1 at Aspen Road (Malahat section), today Saturday June 9, due to a motor vehicle collision. One northbound lane now open around 2:30 pm. Expect delays.

Advisories continue from City of Langford Engineering and the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure.  www.drivebc.ca


Friday, June 8 ~ NATIONAL. The largest-ever Lotto Max jackpot at $60 million was won by a ticket holder in Quebec this evening. The June 8 draw numbers were 12 25 27 29 34 44 45 with bonus number 07.

There were 52 Maxmillion opportunities. On Vancouver Island, there are two winners of half a Maxmillion, i.e. $500,000 each. One of those winners purchased their ticket in Victoria, and the other in Ladysmith.

In Vancouver there is also a winner of $500,000 as a shared prize. In Burnaby there is a $1 Maxmillion winner.

 


June 8 at G7 in Quebec, from left to right: British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. [Photo from Web – Leah Millis/Reuters]

Friday, June 8 ~ NATIONAL. Today June 8, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed top world leaders at the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec.

Meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. The leaders discussed G7 cooperation on pressing global issues, including gender equality and preparing economies for jobs of the future. Prime Minister and Chancellor exchanged views on international peace and security issues, including those presented by Russia and North Korea. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor highlighted the importance of open, rules-based international trade to create economic growth that benefits everyone. The leaders also emphasized the importance of collective G7 action on oceans, including to reduce plastic waste, as well as the importance of contributing to education for girls and women, especially in fragile states and crisis settings.

Meeting with Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The prime ministers discussed G7 priorities, including economic growth and job creation, as well as global peace and security, including with regard to North Korea and Ukraine. They also exchanged views on promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, including through increasing financing for girls’ and women’s education, particularly in fragile states and conflict settings. Trudeau emphasized the importance of collective G7 action on oceans, including to reduce plastic waste. The prime ministers also discussed the benefits of open, rules-based trade, acknowledging the challenges of protectionism and barriers to trade.

Meeting with President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. The leaders discussed the diplomatic efforts to address the security threat posed by North Korea. This included the coordination of international efforts, as discussed at the Vancouver Conference, and the President’s upcoming summit with North Korea. They also discussed the close security and economic partnership between Canada and the United States. They exchanged views on energy exports from Canada. Furthermore, they agreed on the importance of bringing negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement to a successful and timely conclusion. Trudeau pressed the President to reconsider the U.S. tariffs imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum, and encouraged him to work with Canada to address unfair trade. The Prime Minister reiterated that it is unacceptable to include Canada in 232 national security tariffs.


 

Friday, June 8 ~ NATIONAL. Today Ontario is waking up to having a Progressive Conservative government. PC Leader Doug Ford handily defeated the Liberal party that had been in power for over 15 years.  Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne resigned as leader but retains a seat; her party did not achieve the minimum of eight seats required to maintain official party status.

There are 124 seats in the new Ontario Legislature (up from 107 at dissolution). The PC popular vote was 40.49%, winning them 76 seats (up from 27 seats ahead of the election). The NDP captured 33.57% of the popular vote, winning 40 seats (up from 18 before the election). The Liberals carried only 19.59% of the popular vote, with seven seats (a dramatic drop from 55 seats at dissolution). The Green Party elected its first-ever MPP, with 4.6% of the vote. Voter turnout was 58% (5,735,324 votes cast), that being the strongest voter turnout since 1999.

The main thrust of the PC campaign was fiscal responsibility, butwithout providing a fully-costed program as the NDP did. NDP leader Andrea Horwath did well in the campaign (her third campaign), substantially increasing the number of NDP seats around the province and carrying a stronghold in core areas of Toronto. The NDP will now be the Official Opposition in the Ontario legislature.

Ontario is considered the ‘economic engine’ of Canada, given its strong base in mining, manufacturing, innovation and commerce.


 

 

Langford firefighters rescued a dog from a house fire, June 7. [Langford FD photo]

Thursday, June 7 ~ LANGFORD. [View this article on its own page]

The Langford Fire Rescue Department responded at 5 am today, June 7, to a house fire on Kestrel Ridge. The fire was into the roof when crews arrived (it may have started in the garage). “We were concerned about it spreading to the neighbouring homes,” said Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey.

Eighteen firefighters from all three Langford stations were on scene, along with BCEHS, RCMP, BC Hydro and Langford Emergency Support Services.

The five occupants of the home in the area off Millstream Road and Treanor Avenue were alerted to the sound of the smoke alarm going off, discovered the fire and were able to leave the home without injury. “It is another example of working smoke alarms saving lives as this fire grew rapidly and the had seconds to get out, not minutes,” said Aubrey.

“The family pet was reported missing, however. Once we had knocked the fire down and were able to enter the home, we found the dog named Kona inside hiding beside a wall and bed downstairs. He was suffering from smoke inhalation, was sooty and wet and we removed him and gave him some oxygen,” the fire chief said. The dog was then taken to a vet by the RCMP. The dog is expected to make a full recovery.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and the family is currently working with Langford ESS and friends for support until they can get long term aid through their insurance company.


 

SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge addressed media June 7 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Thursday, June 7 ~ LANGFORD. The drug-related death of a Grade 10 Belmont Secondary School student who died suddenly on Sunday evening, June 3, has sparked a round of reminders and supports to parents, schools, students and community about the dangers of using recreational drugs.

The student was identified as Dorrian Wright in a letter from Belmont Secondary School principal Jim Lamond, that was sent out to parents and guardians on June 4. The announcement was also read out to students.

Today at the Sooke School District (SD62) administration office, SD62 Superintendent Jim Cambridge was clearly impacted by the event, telling media that all 26 schools in the west shore district “feel the loss”.

“A significant number of students are affected, and the staff,” said Cambridge, who says this is particularly difficult in the year-end grad season when usually families and the school community is gathering to celebrate student achievements. For Cambridge himself, this comes just a few weeks ahead of his retirement from his 35-year career in education.

Information was sent out to parents today to help give parents what they need to help their kids, and help prevent this from happening again. “Talk to your son or daughter about drug use,” said Cambridge. He suggested that honest communication with children and teens can make “a significant difference”.

Here are some tips on how to start the conversation:
• Keep the lines of communication open and have honest and non-judgemental conversations with your teen—this will create trust and encourage openness
• Approach the conversation with curiosity and interest
• Ask for their opinions
• Focus on your concerns for their safety
• Know the facts about the drug
• Understand and address your own fears before starting the conversation

Cambridge issued a reminder in his comments to media that today the risk of drugs is much greater than in previous years, notably with the presence of fentanyl in many drugs that can be purchased on the street.

Belmont Secondary School [West Shore Voice News file photo – June 2018]

Even the smallest amount of fentanyl will kill. Naloxone can reverse a potential fatality if administered promptly. At the Royal Bay Secondary school in recent weeks a voluntary training session was offered to students on how to administer Naloxone.

Cambridge could not say whether anyone was available to help Dorrian at the time of the incident. The incident did not happen at school or at home.

Some links as provided by SD62:

  1. Let’s Talk – Speaking to our kids about substance use, Island Health
  2. Xanax among teens: what we need to know, Island Health
  3. Talking with teenagers about drugs, Health Canada

The BC Coroner has not released details yet.


Thursday, June 7 ~ BC.  Lotto Max offers another record-breaking opportunity to win big this week. There is an estimated $112 million in top prizes.

Last week, seven Lotto Max top prizes were won in BC including five Maxmillion prizes from the June 1, 2018 draw. Winning tickets were sold in Delta, Kitimat, Surrey, Richmond, Pitt Meadows and the Shuswap region.

Lotto Max fans across Canada have the chance to win this week’s estimated $60 million record-breaking main jackpot and an additional estimated 52 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million each.

Lotto Max draws are held every Friday night. A $5 ticket features three chances to win. To win the jackpot, players must match 7/7 numbers.

The BC Lottery Corporation says that the odds of winning a Lotto Max jackpot or Maxmillion prize are one in 28,633,528 per play. Odds of winning any prize are one in 6.6 per play. Maxmillions continue to grow after the jackpot reaches $50 million.  Players must match 7/7 numbers to win the corresponding Maxmillion prize.

Lotto Max customers in BC have until 7:30 pm (PDT) on Friday evenings to purchase a ticket for that night’s draw. Visit PlayNow.com or lottery retailers.

For the chance to win up to $500,000, say ‘Yes’ to the Extra. Extra is available with Daily Grand, Lotto 6/49, Lotto Max, and BC/49 at any BCLC lottery retailer or at PlayNow.com. Players can now check their lottery tickets anytime, anywhere on iOS or Android devices. Learn more about the BCLC Lotto! App here.


 

Thursday, June 7 ~ BC.  Shaw TV customers across much of Canada — from Ontario to BC — are without service this morning, Thursday, June 7. [Update 12 noon: 11:41 AM PT/2:21 PM ET: All channels now fully restored.]

Shaw reports that a coax cable to all TVs was cut. That’s a main line, and they’re calling it a national outage that is producing “black screens”.

An “accidental” outage, Shaw says the interruption of service occurred around 6 am Pacific Time (9 am Eastern Time) and was possibly caused by construction activity such as digging in a location before checking on the location of underground services.

TV news is not getting out to Shaw customers. Today there is a provincial election in Ontario; the polls there opened at 9 am.  There are also preparations for the G7 summit in Quebec City; world leaders and hundreds of international delegates are beginning to arrive in Quebec for the summit, which opens on Friday in La Malbaie (about 140 km outside Quebec City), but with protests expected to happen in the streets of the provincial capital.

Shaw says on their website at www.shaw.ca/updates that customers may be able to access some channels online directly through the broadcaster’s website by logging in with a Shaw ID, including for TSN, Global, CTV and CBC.

There is presently no estimated restoration time.


 

Ferry travel includes food service with a view! [West Shore Voice News photo – June 2018]

Tuesday, June 5 ~ COASTAL BC. The Spirit of British Columbia will return to service tomorrow, following its mid-life upgrade and conversion to operate on LNG. The ship services the Tsawwassen/Swartz Bay (Vancouver/Victoria) route.

The vessel is the first of two to be converted to operate on natural gas, which is much cleaner for the environment than marine diesel. The Spirit of Vancouver will undergo a mid-life upgrade from Fall 2018 to Spring 2019.

Other upgrades in the Spirit of British Columbia include the renewal of navigation equipment, propulsion equipment components including gearboxes, rudders, steering system, bow thrusters, propeller blades, LED lighting, more efficient air conditioning equipment to reduce energy consumption and four marine evacuation systems.

The vessel’s passenger areas have been upgraded with new carpeting, furniture upholstery, new table tops, refurbishment of all public washrooms, as well as additional washrooms on Deck 5. A new coffee bar has been added on Deck 6 and the size of the gift shop has been doubled.


 

Tuesday, June 5 ~ NATIONAL.  Canada continues to provide international leadership to address climate change, honour its Paris Agreement commitments, and transition to a low-carbon, clean-growth economy. We know our future prosperity and well-being depend on taking ambitious, coordinated action at home and as a global community.

Today, on World Environment Day, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that Patricia Fuller has been appointed Canada’s new Ambassador for Climate Change, for a term of three years, effective immediately.

Ms. Fuller will advise both the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Foreign Affairs on how Canada can best advance its climate change priorities on the world stage and work closely with Canadian missions to put the Government of Canada’s environmental policies into practice. She will reinforce Canada’s work with other countries on innovative climate solutions and promote our clean technology sector to global investors.

Patricia Fuller. Canada’s Ambassador for Climate Change [2018]

Working together on climate change, oceans, and clean energy is one of the key themes of Canada’s 2018 G7 Presidency and will be at the centre of the discussions at the G7 Summit from June 8-9, 2018.

Fuller holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Economics and Political Studies from Queen’s University, and a Master of Science with distinction from the London School of Economics.

“Climate change is a global challenge that requires a global solution,” Trudeau said in a statement‎.” Everywhere, we are seeing the effects of climate change reminding us of the need to act now. Canada’s new Ambassador for Climate Change, Ms. Fuller, is here to lead Canada’s efforts and work in collaboration with the global community to tackle climate change and promote clean economic growth.”

“I’m very pleased to welcome Patricia Fuller as Canada’s new Ambassador for Climate Change,” said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, in a statement.” Canada is proud to work with our international partners to advance climate solutions like phasing out coal, reducing risks from extreme weather and climate impacts, and supporting clean solutions and innovation. We’re all in this together, and international collaboration is essential to make sure we are leaving a healthy environment and a strong economy to our kids and grandkids.”

The Climate Change Ambassador has a key role in government-wide engagement on climate change and in the implementation of Canada’s clean growth and climate change priorities. Continued leadership and global cooperation are key to moving forward and meeting the Paris Agreement commitment to limit global temperature increases and to increase the ability to adapt to adverse impacts of climate change. To that effect, in December 2016, Canada released the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enable sustainable economic growth.

In 2014, Canada’s clean and sustainable technology industry employed over 55,600 people in almost 800 technology companies in all regions of the country. Most of these companies are small and medium-sized enterprises. Total revenues from this industry reached nearly $12 billion.

Canada has committed $2.65 billion to international climate finance to support a wide range of programs and initiatives that will help developing countries mitigate and build resilience to the impacts of climate change, deploy clean energy technology, and manage natural resources sustainably.


 

Intrauterine devices are being recommended as the contraceptive of choice for teens.

Monday, June 4 ~ NATIONAL.  Last week the Canadian Paediatric Society all of a sudden announced that they’re ‘catching up with the rest of the world’ by recommending the use of intrauterine devices (IUDs) for teenage girls as the contraceptive method of choice, ahead of the longstanding first choice, i.e. oral contraceptives (OCs).

In part this could be a way to avoid less politically-correct efforts to address contraception among low-income and immigrant population groups in Canada.

Health issues surrounding the long-standing use of OCs (including obesity, heart, stroke, and cancer) are not widely talked about.

Apparently half of Canadian young women age 17+ are sexually active. A spike in sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) could be expected if use of condoms is foregone in light of the 98%+ contraceptive assurances of using an IUD.

See full editorial on page 2 in the June 1, 2018 issue of West Shore Voice News.


Sunday, June 3 ~ SOOKE. Sooke tourism businesses look at destination marketing tax.

There was a Destination Marketing and tourism economy discussion in Sooke on Sunday afternoon, May 27. The afternoon event at Vancouver Island Lodge offered a detailed exploration of what it would take to establish the District of Sooke (possibly in combination with the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area) to become a government-approved as a Destination Marketing region and be able to collect an accommodation tax on recreational establishments of four or more rooms in the Sooke to Port Renfrew region.

Guest speakers were Peter Harrison from Destination BC; Calum Matthews from Tourism Vancouver Island; Brian White who is program head for the Master of Arts in Tourism Management program at Royal Roads University (RRU); and Kathleen Gilbert of the Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission.

Intel contributions about the region were offered by Sooke Region Museum director Lee Boyko, and Mike Hicks who operates a small B&B. Also attending were District of Sooke Councillors Kevin Pearson, Rick Kasper and Brenda Parkinson.

Discussion was mainly about whether the Sooke region should sign up for the the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) by which accommodation businesses could collect a per-night levy of 2% or 3% that goes to the BC government for payment back to the group that collected it. Or whether a business working group is preferable (less structure but possibly less transparent/accountable).

The underlying thrust for the event was to somehow increase revenues to be put toward marketing tourism in the full Sooke region. For many years that tourism marketing function was the municipality’s expectation of the Sooke Region Tourism Association (SRTA) which largely used an annual grant from the District of Sooke (and a matching grant from Tourism Vancouver Island) to maintain a well-paid web contract and for large ad buys in (Alberta, Washington state, and Oregon as opposed to to island and BC audiences.

District of Sooke Acting CAO Brent Blackhall said Sunday: “We almost got there” referring to discussions among local tourism leaders and the District. Apparently $30,000 “is not enough” said tourism operators that day.

A 2% levy could bring in much more, which a core group of tourism operators say would attract more visitors to the region. The 3% tax sees 20% of total collections retained by Destination BC for redistribution to groups for putting on special events.

RRU’s Brian White reminded proponents that a business plan comes first. Destination BC has strict guidelines and a strident application process.

Currently 56 communities around BC operate MRDT programs (19 of those at the 3% level), generating $60 million per year. Of those programs, about 70% are authorized through local governments who then hire a contractor, 15% are managed by tourism organizations, and 10% directly are handled directly by local government.
Langford recently signed on with MRDT; a 2% room tax starts Nov 1.

[This article was first published in the June 1, 2018 print/PDF edition of West Shore Voice News, page 5]


 

Hatley Castle on the Royal Roads University Campus in Colwood, BC [West Shore Voice News photo – May 2018]

Sunday, June 3 ~ WEST SHORE. Post-secondary options for the west shore: have your say. Does the west shore need post-secondary options for new high school grads, so they can remain in their home community and still continue with their education affordably?

This week a survey with that very line of questioning was sent out by email to parents of students in grades 9 to 12 in the SD62 school system. That’s secondary schools in Langford (Belmont Secondary), Colwood (Royal Bay Secondary) and Sooke (Edward Milne Community School), as well as the Westshore Centre for Learning & Training which serves the full region.

Students will also be asked to complete a survey too (in class time), ahead of departing for the summer.
And now the broader community has an opportunity for input. A survey has been posted on the SD62 website at www.sd62.bc.ca (scroll down to the “We want your opinion” section). Or visit: https://www.academicasurveys.com/c/a/6AMQ4bVZlgMFN4yXK2BBC8

The public input is sought from people in business and community, as students do interact with and are employed by the local community.

Another important target audience is parents of recent high school grads, and grads who’ve gone on to post-secondary. They’ve experienced the lack of post-secondary in the west shore and may have important observations on the barriers to post-secondary. The transfer rates of students from SD62 schools into post-secondary is below the provincial average.

Steve Grundy, VP Academic, RRU

“We’re a changemaker campus, committed to curriculum that causes social change,” says Royal Roads University’s VP Academic, Steve Grundy. If first and second-year courses were offered “we would do it differently (from other university styles),” Grundy told West Shore Voice News this week.

“If we do whatever the right thing is for the community, good things can come from that,” he said. “We have some ideas, Langford’s mayor Stew Young has some ideas, and there’s good collaboration with the SD62 school board. But so far we don’t have the data to make good decisions.” Hence the rush to catch students and parents with a questionnaire before school breaks for the summer. “So, when and if we do anything, we hit the target,” says Grundy.

The idea is that transition to university be “much cleaner and easier for everybody involved”. There have been massive changes in the K-12 curriculum in BC. “Changes in 9-12 curriculum are much more closely aligned with our teaching model at Royal Roads,” said Grundy. It’s a model of collaboration, active learning, and integrated learning.”

Having the city involved brings the possibility of access to recreational facilities in Langford. As well, there is an idea of putting together an ‘innovative city’ business incubator jointly with businesses in the community.

The three partners to the exploratory program have the same objectives to make education more accessible to local residents in the west shore area. RRU, City of Langford, and SD62 all expect that there are financial barriers to grads going on to post-secondary (not just tuition but also travel and accommodation costs). Also, smaller communities are close-knit, and heading off to a far-away university or college may not be a desired option for many students.
Having first- and second-year courses available at Royal Roads in Colwood could be a highly suitable alternative. Course transferability would be given careful attention, says Grundy, so that students can further their education at other post-secondary institutions as desired.

If anything develops out of this initial exploratory (funded with $250,000 from the BC Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training back in April), the earliest course offerings could come by September 2020, says Grundy.
Having taught at RRU since 1995, Grundy is particularly interested in the directions of post-secondary education, the evolution and development of online learning, and new models of university governance and leadership.
Public survey about post-secondary in the west shore: www.sd62.bc.ca (or direct link)


7th Annual Goddess Run in Langford, June 2, 2018 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Saturday. June 2 ~ LANGFORD. A sold-out Goddess Run marathon of 950 runners took place in the Westhills area of Langford today, June 2.

The 5K and 10K distance were for runners of all skills level, walk or run. Women of all ages as well as children showed up for the event on a semi-cool Saturday.

The race event started and finished on the grounds of Belmont Secondary School. This year the route included a stretch along the new West Shore Parkway that opened in October 2017.

www.goddessrun.ca


 

Friday, June 1 ~ LANGFORD. Some roadways in the Westhills area of Langford will have interrupted access from 8 am to 12 noon on Saturday, June 2 for the 7th annual Goddess Run.

Impacted roads are Glen Lake Road, Parkdale Drive, West Shore Parkway, Humpback Road, Irwin Road, Meridian, and Constellation.

The 2018 Goddess Run is a women’s 5K and 10K run/walk for all racing abilities. The start is at 8:45am from alongside Belmont Secondary on Glen Lake Road, finishing up at that location by 11:20 am. See map.

The first Goddess Run was in 2012 and since then 12,500 goddesses have crossed the finish line. Over $170,000 has been raised for charity. @goddessrunbc  #goddessrun

On the traffic side of things: Glen Lake road westbound will be single lane alternating traffic from Belmont school 8:30 am to 12:00 pm. From 8:30 am to 9:30 am participants will be crossing West Shore Parkway at a marked crosswalk (and running along the sidewalk from 8:30 to 10 am). From 8:30am to 11:00 am Humpback Road will be closed from Irwin to Sooke. From 8:30 am to 12:00 pm: Expect delays along Meridian and Constellation.  Traffic control will be on-site directing traffic.


From left: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, BC Premier John Horgan.

Tuesday, May 29 ~ NATIONAL.  Trudeau talks pipeline.

Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with both BC Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley regarding the federal cabinet’s decision to purchase the assets of the Trans Mountain pipeline project (both the existing pipeline that was built in 1953 and the present infrastructure/equipment already in place to build the extension) for $4.5 billion.

Earlier today Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that owning the assets of the project make it clear about federal jurisdiction over the project.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with British Columbia Premier John Horgan by phone early this morning to confirm that the federal government had reached a commercial agreement with Kinder Morgan in order to secure the timely completion of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The Prime Minister confirmed that the agreement will guarantee the resumption of work for the summer construction season and protect thousands of jobs.

  • During the call, the Prime Minister reiterated the federal government’s jurisdiction over interprovincial pipelines, and noted that the Government of Canada is confident that, with this agreement, it is upholding the trust Canadians have placed in the government to both grow the economy and protect the environment. The Prime Minister noted that this project is made possible because of Canada’s world-leading Oceans Protection Plan, extensive and ongoing consultations with Indigenous communities, strengthened environmental standards, and a rigorous approvals process.‎
  • Trudeau reaffirmed his commitment to work collaboratively with British Columbia on important issues such as supporting infrastructure, fighting climate change, and protecting our environment and coasts.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke today with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley on the commercial agreement that the Government of Canada has reached with Kinder Morgan in order to secure the timely completion of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

  • The Prime Minister expressed appreciation for Premier Notley’s continued support for the project, and confirmed that the agreement will guarantee the resumption of work for the summer construction season and protect thousands of jobs.
  • During the call, the Trudeau acknowledged Alberta’s commitment to get the project done, and confirmed his understanding that Alberta’s contribution would act as an emergency fund and would only come into play if required due to unforeseen circumstances. The Prime Minister and Premier Notley noted their shared belief that it is possible – and fundamental – to grow the economy and protect the environment at the same time. They also agreed to continue working together on fighting climate change and protecting our environment.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau May 29 in Ottawa.

Tuesday, May 29 ~ NATIONAL. The federal government announced this morning that $4.5 billion will be committed to purchasing the Trans Mountain pipeline project (both existing infrastructure of the pipeline first built in 1953 and the new infrastructure that is currently in place to get the extension pipeline built) if Kinder Morgan cannot find a private sector buyer before August. This is largely seen as a statement of political assurance that the federal Liberal government can get a project “in the national interest” accomplished, something (i.e. get a pipeline built) they charged in Question Period today in the House of Commons that the previous Conservative government was unable to accomplish.

Kinder Morgan had estimated the cost of building the expansion would be $7.4 billion, but Morneau insisted that the project will not have a fiscal impact in that the federal government does not intend to be a long-term owner. Morneau said that at the appropriate time, the government would work with investors to transfer the project and related assets to a new owner or owners. Investors such as Indigenous groups and pension funds have already expressed interest, he said. The stock value of Kinder Morgan shares went up 2% this morning in response to the news, indicating a positive view of the federal government’s decision by the investment community. Eventually there could be annual revenues from a fully operable twinned pipeline of $5.5 billion to BC, $20 billion to Alberta, and $21 billion to the federal government.

BC Premier John Horgan has released the following statement about the federal government’s proposed purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline: “Today’s events do not change the risks of a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic, or the catastrophic effect a diluted bitumen spill would cause to British Columbia’s economy and environment. Tens of thousands of BC jobs depend on pristine coastal and inland waters. Our environment generates millions in economic activity, from tourism to film and fisheries. It does not matter who owns the pipeline. What matters is defending our coast – and our lands, rivers and streams – from the impact of a dilbit spill. Our government is determined to defend British Columbia’s interests within the rule of law and in the courts. We will continue our reference case, to determine our rights within our provincial jurisdiction.”

Horgan told media in a live news conference: “The federal government now is completely accountable and now, at the end of the day, is a good thing.” Horgan said that the federal finance minister will be responsible for outcomes, adding there is skepticism about making money off the pipeline, noting the present oil price of $66/barrel. Horgan encouraged any protesters who wish to continue to express their disappointment to do so “within the rule of law”. Horgan said that BC’s jurisdictional question to the BC Supreme Court is still in place. BC wants to “protect our coast and our economy (air, water and land) — and if the courts find otherwise, we’ll see what we can do about that”.  Accountability — including environmental — clearly falls to the federal government now, said Horgan.

The leader of the BC Green Party, Andrew Weaver issued a statement in response to the federal government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline. “This is a betrayal by a government who ran on a hopeful vision for a better future,” said Weaver. “A government that promised to end fossil fuel subsidies and to champion the clean economy should not be spending billions of dollars of taxpayer money to buy out a fossil fuel expansion project. We should be investing in growth industries that are clearly where the world is heading. Investing in this pipeline is like investing in the horse and buggy industry at the advent of the car.” “This is a deeply troubling decision on many levels,” continued Weaver. “Canada stands to sacrifice its international reputation, irreplaceable iconic species like the Southern resident Killer Whales, and its commitments to meet its Paris Climate targets and to reconcile with Indigenous people – all while putting enormous risk on Canadian taxpayers.” The Green Party leader continued: “It is clear that the world is transitioning away from fossil fuels. The cost of renewable energy continues to fall – solar and wind are already cheaper than coal in many jurisdictions. Last week, a report by Aurora Energy Research projected the adoption of electric vehicles could wipe out $19 trillion in oil revenue. You don’t build infrastructure like this for the next few years – this is built to last for the next 40-50. This is not the infrastructure we need in 10 years and certainly not what we need in 40.”

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh told media in Ottawa today that the federal government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline project was a “true lack of leadership” to save or create less than 3,000 jobs. “It’s a bad deal that will solve nothing,” Singh said, calling it a short-term decision that “doesn’t propose a way forward” and that there should be preparation for jobs in the clean energy sector and in jobs “right across the country”.

Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the federal government should not be paying for a private sector project, that it is a political move by the prime minister to essentially save face. However, in Question Period today Finance Minister Morneau said that Trudeau’s Liberal government is now getting done “what the Conservatives were unable to do” for 10 years under Harper. Scheer says that the legal questions and obstacles to the project remain unresolved.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley called it “a major step forward for all Canadians.” She said any efforts by BC to further interfere with the project will have less effect with the federal government as the owner, because it will have Crown immunity.


 

Monday, May 28 ~ NATIONAL.  Over the next three months, Canadians may provide input on problems experienced relatively widely in the airline transportation industry.

Input about things like compensation for bumped flights and lost bags will help the federal government develop some new regulations about tarmac delays and cancelled flights

From a customer service perspective, it’s been rather astonishing that the airline industry would leave their customers stranded without options or compensation. Frustrations from the public have made their way to elected officials, and now the government is taking action. This is good public process at work.

Last week on May 23, 2018, Parliament passed the Transportation Modernization Act. This mandates the Canadian Transportation Agency to develop regulations for airlines’ obligations to air passengers.

The public can provide input in various ways:
• Attend an in-person session (the only one in BC will be held in Vancouver on Monday, June 18 (1 to 4pm and 6 to 8 pm)
• Complete a questionnaire: http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/questionnaire
• Read a discussion paper and provide a written submission: http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/submit
• Comment on any of these topics: Airline’s obligation to communicate clearly; Flight delay and cancellation; Denial of boarding; Lost or damaged baggage; Tarmac delay; Seating of children under 14 years; Transport of musical instruments; or other.

Registration to participate in the public sessions is required: http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/register-session

As well, in-person surveys are being completed in 11 major airports across Canada.

Feedback is being accepted up to August 28, 2018.


 

The Swartz Bay Terminal of BC Ferries, near Sidney on south Vancouver Island.

Friday, May 25 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND. If you have some ideas to improve service at the BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal, here’s your chance. There’s an public input portal available to June 8 at www.bcferries.com/swbvision

This is part of a broader program announced earlier this month which includes meetings with key stakeholders and pop-up sessions at the terminal in late May and early June.

This program runs through to Fall 2018 to gather community feedback to better understand the important role that the terminal plays in the experience of communities and customer travel experiences within the regional transportation network.

Feedback will inform design concerts for the terminal, taking into account the collective needs of BC Ferries and the community. Customers and the community will be presented with possible design options.

Terminal redevelopment will be done over several years. Public engagement will continue as the terminal is designed and throughout construction which is scheduled to begin in 2021.

Since the previous master plan of 2004, there have been upgrades to ticket booths and traffic flows, and some berth modifications. The new Terminal Development Plan will guide long-term planning and investment in future improvements for Swartz Bay. “The long-term plan is for a more efficient and pleasurable experience for customers while supporting growth in the region by moving people and goods more easily,” said BC Ferries in a news release.


 

Boats clustered in the Victoria Inner Harbour, evening before Swiftsure 2018. [Photo: John Clarke]

Friday, May 25 ~ VICTORIA.  The 75th Annual Swiftsure 2018 International Yacht Race gets the wind behind its sails tomorrow morning, Saturday May 26. 

There will be six race starts at Clover Point: Juan de Fuca Race 9 am; Cape Flattery Race 9:10 am; Cape Flattery Race for Multihulls and Juan de Fuca Race for Multihulls 9:20 am; Swiftsure Ligthship Classic and The Hein Bank Race 9:30 am; Inshore Classic Race (Flying Sails) 9:40; Inshore Classic Race (Legends of Swiftsure, Cruising) 9:50 am. Race officials will use VHF Channel 9 to coundown each race start.

The public comes in droves to watch the race starts, but there is an increasing number of armchair sailors from around the world who follow the races online using Swiftsure’s Race Tracker .

In 2017 over half a million people peered into Swiftsure’s race tracker online. Recent advances in data communication technology enable regular and consistent reporting of boat positions, allowing spectators to boats online.

There are 192 boats registered to sail this weekend. A skipper’s information meeting was held this evening. Most boats will have someone on the bow of most boats during the start. They are watching for opportunities for clean air (not having wind blanketed by sails of other boats that are upwind).

The first boats to finish will likely be the Juan de Fuca multihull fleet. The fastest boats could arrive before midnight on Saturday. The first monohulls racing the Juan de Fuca course could begin arriving after midnight or in the early Sunday morning hours.

Swiftsure appeals to all types of sailors, from experienced amateurs (racers and cruisers) to professional racers. The varied course lengths and uncertain sailing conditions test strategy, tactics, and seamanship.  Swiftsure is considered a grueling test against the elements. Fog, drizzle/rain, heavy winds, strong tidal currents, darkness and the large number of commercial boats in the Strait of Juan de Fuca require a focus on safety and pose a constant challenge to mariner skills.


 

Crash scene investigation and cleanup, evening of May 24, on the Malahat section of Hwy 1 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Thursday, May 24 [10 pm] ~ LANGFORD.  As of 9:35 am this evening, the Hwy 1 Malahat section at Goldstream Provincial Park that has been closed since about 11 am this morning due to a vehicle crash is set to re-open around 2 am on Friday morning May 25, according to DriveBC.

Earlier this evening there were personnel from several agencies at the motor vehicle incident (MVI) site including the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Ministry of Environment, BC Hazmat, Langford Fire Rescue, Colwood Fire Dept (with their hazmat truck), Mainroad South Island (with huge lights for nightwork), SPR Traffic Services, and the RCMP incident investigator. Among other activities, there was the work of drilling the tank on the tipped-over fuel truck in order to release the fuel.

Meanwhile, northbound motorists not able to get upisland were lined up along West Shore Parkway. Mainroad personnel advised them of the 180 km detour along the Pacific Marine Circle Route (Hwy 14 through Port Renfrew then down to Duncan via Hwy 18) that would take three to five hours.

But many travellers have chosen to wait it out in their vehicles until the road opens. Nearby at that recently developed corner of West Shore Parkway and Hwy 1 were services including a Shell Gas Station and Tim Hortons, and Quality Foods not too far along on Langford Parkway back into Langford.

Motorists parked for many hours on the West Shore Parkway, waiting to go northbound on Hwy 1, Thursday evening May 24 [West Shore Voice News photo]

About 35 flaggers and on-road personnel have been out around Hwy 14 and along the Pacific Marine Circle route for many hours now (especially at the single lane bridges), checking for any stranded motorists (who may have run out of fuel or are in medical distress) and providing water and granola bars if anyone is in urgent need. Porta-potties have been set up in various areas for flaggers and waiting motorists.

Mainroad has about 50 personnel available in total; there will be a shift change at 11:30 pm this evening after a long day.  Some flaggers had to be redirected from construction sites earlier today, to help out with this MVI situation. “We’ve got all resources on this, this is big,” says Mainroad’s road manager Stuart Eaton.


 

Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey [West Shore Voice News photo 2017]

Thursday, May 24 ~ LANGFORD.  “The majority of our work is done,” said Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey today May 24 around 3 pm.

“Our responsibility was to extricate the one patient with the Jaws of Life, contain the spill, mitigate the fire threat and to set up a containment zone which are all complete,” he said after attending the vehicle crash incident (fuel truck and van) in the Malahat section of Highway 1. The motor vehicle incident occurred around 10:54 am.

As of 3 pm, one engine was still on scene while BC Hazmat drains the remaining product from the truck and the tow truck flips it back onto its wheels. However, fire rescue crews await RCMP Analysts to finish before draining the tanks can begin.

Now that the two injured drivers are off to hospital and spill has been contained, the scene remains now with the Ministry of Environment, RCMP and BC Hazmat. “We are supporting their efforts to fully mitigate the emergency,” says Aubrey. “We have been told it could take six hours to drain the tanks once RCMP Analysts are finished which is why the road remains closed at this time.”

SD62 school bus in Langford [May 2018 West Shore Voice News file photo]

In the after-school time frame (after 3 pm), SD62 school buses on routes 4, 6 and 25 are expected to experience long delays, according to the SD62 administration office.

The road re-opening has tentatively been set by the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for about 10 pm this evening, at the earliest. Traffic updates at www.drivebc.ca

According to West Shore RCMP around 3:30 pm today, the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure and Ministry of Environment have designated the area of the collision as a “hot zone”. Finlayson Arm Road will remain open for emergency vehicles, local residents and non-commercial traffic by pilot car in one direction at a time, says RCMP.

City of Langford Engineering advises that Highway 1 is closed southbound at South Shawnigan Lake Road and northbound at West Shore Parkway. All vehicles in both directions are to detour via the Pacific Marine Circle Route. They are now advising that the detour is in effect to at least midnight.


 

Fuel truck collided with a van on Hwy 1 in the Goldstream Park area today May 24, 2018 [CTV Vancouver Island photo, online]

Thursday, May 24 ~ LANGFORD. Police have closed Highway 1 for the afternoon today, Thursday May 24, in Goldstream Park in both directions as a precaution and to further assess a fuel hazard following a vehicle crash.

Police estimate a time period of now 10 hours before any potential reopening of Highway 1 (reopening approximately 10 pm). Finlayson Arm Road will remain open for emergency vehicles and local residents only. The Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure is diverting traffic through Finlayson Arm Road with use of a pilot car.

Today at 10:54 am West Shore RCMP, RCMP Traffic Unit and Langford Fire Rescue responded to a collision between a fuel truck and a passenger van on Highway 1 just before Finlayson Arm Road.

The passenger of the van was initially reported as trapped inside, however the driver was later removed from the vehicle with non-life threatening injuries.  The driver of the fuel truck is believed to have only minor injuries.  It did not appear that there was anyone else in the van.

First responders including HAZMAT crews have determined that the overturned fuel truck was leaking fuel, which has now been contained.

“The cause of the collision is under investigation,” says Cpl Chris Dovell of West Shore RCMP.  The fuel spill is a risk for motorists and first responders, as well as a potential environmental hazard.  We ask for patience from drivers who are affected by any delays as emergency crews deal with the closure of Highway 1,” says Cpl. Dovell.

There has been a reported three-sail wait at the Mill Bay ferry terminal as drivers tried to detour around the crash through the Saanich Inlet.

Hazmat crews have said it’s the same corner of the Malahat Highway where a fuel tanker crashed in April 2011, spilling 42,000 litres of gasoline and shutting down the route for nearly 24 hours.


 

BC is creating 200 new nurse practitioner (NP) positions.

Wednesday, May 23 ~ BC.  The BC government is creating 200 new nurse practitioner (NP) positions to support patients as part of a shift to a team-based primary health-care system, it was announced by BC Minister of Health Adrian Dix today May 23.

“We know that there are significant numbers of British Columbians who have inadequate access to a primary care provider,” said Dix. “NPs are a viable, patient-centred solution to improving access, but we know that compared to other jurisdictions, BC has not made the best use of NPs. With the steps we are taking to fully leverage and integrate NPs into the province’s primary care system, this is about to change.”

The positions are being supported by approximately $115 million over three years, to secure NPs’ employment in primary care settings throughout British Columbia. Government is also increasing the number of NP education seats by 66%.

NP practice does not require physician supervision. NPs can work on their own, or with physicians and other health professionals, to provide care across a person’s life span. This includes diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting tests, prescribing medications and performing medical procedures. They hold a masters or PhD. They are regulated by the College of Registered Nurses of BC and hold liability insurance through the Canadian Nurses Protective Society.

BC Health Minister Adrian Dix

There are 426 practicing NPs in BC. The new positions will make a total of 626 NPs working in communities throughout BC.  Distribution of nurse practitioner positions will be based on regions with the highest need of primary care services. The positions will be available to new graduates, as well as current nurse practitioners, who wish to work to their full scope of practice in a primary care setting. NP’s provide care in both primary and acute care settings including rural, remote and urban centers.

“This is great news for nurse practitioners and British Columbians in need of primary care,” said Fiona Hutchison, president of the British Columbia Nurse Practitioner Association. “Fully integrating additional nurse practitioners into our provincial health-care system enables us to be more fully utilized and work to our full scope of practice – something we’ve been calling on for some time.”

As well, $1.2 million over two years will fund an additional 30 nurse practitioner education seats. Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, 15 additional nurse practitioner seats will be added at the University of British Columbia (UBC) where NP studies began in 2003. There will be five new seats at the University of Victoria (UVIC) and five at the University of Northern British Columbia. An additional five seats will be added at UVIC in 2019-20. These institutions will have the ability to train a total of 75 nurse practitioners per year.

Increasing the number of jobs and nurse practitioner seats is part of work underway to support a human resources strategy to ensure the health-care workforce meets the needs of patients. As part of this, as announced on April 18, 2018, the ministries of Health and Advanced Education, Skills and Training are providing approximately $3.3 million to create new health-care assistant seats in 11 post-secondary institutions throughout British Columbia.


 

Jurors in BC may now receive free counselling support after a traumatizing trial.

Wednesday, May 23 ~ BC. The BC government will provide access to free counselling sessions for British Columbians who have served as jurors and who by that experienced stress and mental-health challenges. The services will be available at the conclusion of a trial, as part of a new juror support program.

Jurors are sometimes required to hear evidence and testimony about violent and traumatic crimes, including crimes against children and other vulnerable people. Previously, only one group debriefing session was available to jurors at the conclusion of trial, and only if requested by at least six jurors. The new juror support program will offer all BC jurors the opportunity to access four confidential one-on-one sessions with a qualified and experienced counsellor.

“This program was inspired by a letter written to me by Mark Farrant, a former juror in Ontario who is campaigning for better jury supports. He pointed out to me that BC could do much more to support jurors, and he was right,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “Jury duty is a vital public service, but it can also be stressful, and occasionally traumatic. Talking to a qualified counsellor can help. This new program will offer free services to all jurors, so that they can get the support they need, when they need it.”

Mark Farrant has sued the Ontario and federal governments for developing PTSD as a result of serving as a juror on a murder trial.

In February 2018, Farrant launched at $100,000 lawsuit against two governments (Ontario and federal) for having developed PTSD after serving as a juror on a murder trial. He says he wasn’t prepared for the graphic horror of the evidence he was obliged to sit through. His lawsuit said It alleges the attorneys general of Ontario and Canada breached their “duty of care” to protect Farrant as a juror. The lawsuit says Farrant continues to suffer from “stress, fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, significant weight loss, income loss and loss of competitive advantage.”

The BC government will be issuing a request for proposal and, once a qualified vendor is selected, will announce program details, including when the program will be available. Counselling will be provided primarily in person, although there will be options for telephone and video sessions. A toll-free telephone number will be available to answer juror-support program questions, and to book appointments with counsellors.

BC Attorney General David Eby [CBC screenshot]

“Serving as a juror is one of the most important civic duties in Canada,” Farrant said. “Canadians deliver justice in some very difficult cases, and sometimes those experiences take a toll on jurors long after the verdict is delivered. I’m very grateful that Attorney General Eby respected my mission to provide improved supports to jurors, and showed leadership in announcing these new services to British Columbians. May this serve as a signal to other provinces and territories to evolve their own policies.”

The juror support program is part of the Province’s commitment to increasing mental-health services in British Columbia, and will be available (after the conclusion of the trial) to any juror who has served on a criminal, civil, or coroner’s jury for up to six months.

To ensure the program is responsive to the needs of all jurors, instances of jurors needing support beyond the six-month timeline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


 

Wednesday, May 23 ~ VICTORIA. The 2018 GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon was officially launched last night with a Magical Mystery Retro Run in downtown Victoria. New initiatives, including an online training program and floating cheering stations for race day were announced, in conjunction with the launch of volunteer registration and the CHEK Charity Pledge Program (CPP). The 39th Annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon will take place on Sunday, October 7.

Olympian Bruce Deacon has been the event’s online coach for nine years, offering training programs for the Marathon, Half Marathon and 8K Road Race. This year will see a free run Victoria Online Training Group which participants can access through Facebook.

On race day, in conjunction with the Victoria HarbourCats, DFH, The Wilson Group and BC Transit, there will be floating cheering buses along the course. “We are excited about these new partnerships and look forward to supporting all of the participants,” said Cathy Noel, General Manager, GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon.

The online volunteer registration system through Race Roster was launched – a key component of the event organization with 1,600 individuals volunteering every year. “We will be recognizing our returning volunteers through the Team Sales Volunteer Spirit Program, which we launched last year,” added Noel.

RetroRun on May 22 to kick off the 2018 GoodLife Run in Victoria. [Photo by Brynn Feather]

The Marathon event has 12 partners in the Charity Pledge Program (CPP). Three of those are official charities: KidSport Greater Victoria, Pacific Autism Family Network and the GoodLife Kids Foundation. Nine of the charity partners are in the CHEK Charity Pledge Program: Autism Speaks Canada, BC Cancer Foundation, Cerebral Palsy Association of BC, Greater Victoria Lifetime Networks, KidSport Greater Victoria, MOVE Adapted Fitness, NEED2 Suicide Prevention, Special Olympics, and the Victoria Hospitals Foundation.

“Since the program’s inception in 2005, over $1.7 million has been raised. The CPP is a great opportunity for large and small charities to raise money and awareness by using the marathon as a fundraising platform,” said Noel.

Since the first Victoria Marathon in 1980, 195,000 participants have crossed the finish line and this year it will surpass 200,000. “The economic impact to this community is tremendous, amounting to millions of dollars each year. In 2001 the economic impact was $2.1 million and in 2010 it was over $7.1 million. We will be conducting another study this year and we fully expect it to have grown even more,” said Jonathan Foweraker, President, Victoria Marathon Society.

To date there are 671 registered for the marathon (cap is 1,500), 1,084 for the Half Marathon (cap 3,500), and 440 for the 8K (cap 2,750). Race fees are currently $110 for the Marathon, $85 for the Half Marathon, $40 for the 8K Road Race and $20 for the Thrifty Foods Kids Run. To register: www.runvictoriamarathon.com


 

BC Attorney General David Eby

Tuesday, May 22 ~ BC. British Columbia files constitutional challenge of Alberta legislation. 

The Government of British Columbia has filed a statement of claim in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench. The Attorney General of BC is bringing this action, based on public interest standing on behalf of British Columbians, challenging the constitutionality of Alberta’s Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act.

The Alberta legislation passed last week (May 16, 2018) would require export licences be obtained by Alberta companies for the export of natural gas, crude oil, and refined fuels such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel — with a fine of $10 million per day for companies and $1 million per day for individuals.

Today May 22, BC Attorney General David Eby told media that preventing Alberta oil products from reaching Northern and remote BC communities would be detrimental to those communities that rely on diesel for electricity generation and boat transportation. Trucks that ship goods out of the Port of Vancouver to all parts of BC would be impacted by a lack of diesel, therefore impacting the supply of various goods around the province.

Eby told media that BC in its reference to the BC Supreme Court is “seeking adequate protections in the event of a spill, and if there is a spill, to clean it up”. He says BC wants “to ensure those things are in place, not to stop or prevent the pipeline”.

“We want to ensure that (environmental) protections are in place when the pipeline is built and turned on,” Eby told media at the noon hour today. He said that Alberta’s legislation to stop delivery of refined fuel to BC is apparently “a punishment for our reference case” but that Alberta’s legislation is “on its face unconstitutional”. Eby said the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the Comeau case (out of New Brunswick, in April) that government can’t use trade policy to punish other provinces.

Eby says it’s unlikely that Alberta will actually use their new Bill 12 legislation, given that it’s unconstitutional.

The complete statement of claim by BC in response to Alberta’s legislation that would be used to stop delivery of refined fuel to BC is available online: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Statement_of_Claim_Final.pdf


 

View of the Belmont Residences sales centre and surrounding construction site, from the other side of Jenkins Road, May 18. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Monday, May 21 ~ LANGFORD. There is no lack of interest for the opportunity to live in the growing Langford area. As the city grows, people are seeking the west side lifestyle in locations that are convenient and affordable. [View this article on its own page]

It was only May 5 when the Sales Centre opened at Belmont Residences in west Langford and already about 500 groups have come through to see the show suite and find out more about suites available in the 80-unit Phase 1 condo building.

“Currently we are in the preview stage of the program,” says Peter Gaby, sales director with DFH Real Estate Ltd. Sales start in the first half of June; appointments recommended for interest in early purchase.

“People view the sales centre which has the architectural model, wall graphics and digital screens outlining the product offering, the master plan and points of interest in the area as well as a 2-bedroom-plus-flex fully merchandised show suite,” Gaby said this week. The flex room is a popular feature which can be used for a home office, hobby room, exercise room or storage.

Construction for new commercial and residential continues on the Belmont site on Division Avenue in Langford, May 17. [West Shore Voice News photo]

Most comments from sales centre visitors have been positive. “The location, the design layout and functionality of the suites, the quality and attention to detail in the suites in a master plan community is what they are most impressed with,” Gaby says.

People are glad to hear that the 160,000 sq ft of commercial/retail space will be completed prior to Belmont Residences occupancy in early 2020. That includes Thrifty Foods grocery store as the main anchor tenant.

The sales centre is located on Division Ave (just off Jenkins/Kelly) across from the Westshore Town Centre.

www.belmontresidences.com


 

Ms Meghan Markle enters St George’s Chapel to marry Prince Harry [May 19 2018]

Saturday, May 19 ~ WORLD. EDITORIAL ~ social insights into a modern royal wedding [read this editorial on a separate page]

In a Saturday noon-hour ceremony, Britain’s Prince Harry and American self-styled career actress Meghan Markle tied the knot this weekend, on May 19, 2018. It was a celebrity moment that broke some molds.

Upon marriage, together they became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Successful in her own right, it was a major statement of independence by Ms Markle to join by choice one of the world’s oldest ‘family businesses’. Among other things she apparently broke with tradition at the private evening reception by giving a speech (a job normally reserved for the guys).

For many it was a social spectacle of the year, reportedly viewed worldwide by about 2 billion people on TV/livestream and stirring up giddy excitement on the ground with about 100,000 people packing into the centuries-old town of Windsor (population 32,000) to be a part of or catch a glimpse of the pageantry.

Royal watcher or not, this event caught the attention of many — for reasons old and new. The traditional reasons to gaze upon this orchestration of course include support of the monarchy, a belief in fairy tale endings, or just plain entertainment (the bride’s dress, the fascinators worn by guests, and who was there).

The new reasons are far more intriguing, and Markle has indeed given sparkle to a new edge in societal decision-making. For starters, she veritably shrugs off all the narrow-minded fluff about her bi-racial heritage. But most dramatically she made powerful statements with simple actions, like choosing to enter the cathedral and walk most of the way down the aisle on her own with no man taking her arm as she was about to forever end her previous life.

Yeah, at first it seemed a bit weird when she requested that her future father-in-law Prince Charles walk her the rest of the way down the aisle. But in a way, that forced her hand upon the family, rather than the other way around. What a perfect match, this Markle for the son of the late Princess Diana who is still given far too little credit for setting the monarchy onto a modernizing pathway to the 21st century (primarily by raising her two sons to see and interact with the real world).

It appears Markle appreciates her new position as a means to further the social causes that are important to her. It’s an intelligent and gutsy choice, underpinned by love of her man. The strength it will take for the new duchess to pull this off long-term is the storyline we now get to see unfold. Hats off to Harry for opening the door to this bold new adventure.


 

BC Environment Minister George Heyman [Dec 2017 file photo – West Shore Voice News]

Thursday, May 17 ~ BC. As part of keeping its cool in the Trans Mountain pipeline faceoff taking place among the federal government, BC and Alberta, BC sent a letter today to the federal government, including shared priorities.  [View this article on its own page]

BC wants improvements to oceans protection. The federal government says it sees environmental protection going hand in hand with building the economy.

This week Finance Minister Bill Morneau dropped a lead weight of blame on BC Premier Horgan as the reason that the federal government, as part of announcing that it will provide financial support to Kinder Morgan for the challenged pipeline project. The funding is stapled to the project, so if Kinder Morgan bails, a new proponent would have the same advantage.

Federal environment minister Catherine McKenna.

George Heyman, BC Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy sent the 3-page letter (plus 2-page appendix listing several meetings with DFO,the coast guard, environment ministry, national energy board, and more) to his federal counterpart, Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Heyman’s letter, in response to correspondence received from McKenna on April 26, 2018, can be viewed here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/316322_McKenna_FINAL_SIGNED.PDF

Heyman has outlined differences, as well as individual and shared priorities, of both governments related to protecting BC’s environment and economy from the effects of a catastrophic oil spill.

He has also suggested areas where the federal government needs to do more in areas of its jurisdiction, including improvements to the federal government’s Oceans Protection Plan.

Heyman has also proposed ways both governments can cooperate on their respective research regarding the behaviour of spilled heavy oils, as wells as ways to jointly improve environmental protection.


BC Premier John Horgan at the 3rd Annual #BCTech Summit that is hosted by the BC Government. [Twitter photo May 16, 2018]

Wednesday, May 16 ~ BC. To help spark innovation, economic growth and new jobs in BC, the provincial government is investing in tech-based research and advanced training opportunities in all parts of the province, Premier John Horgan announced today at the #BCTECH Summit in Vancouver.

“BC succeeds when British Columbians succeed – and our province’s tech sector is proving that every day,” said Premier Horgan, adding that the sector has over 10,000 companies employing more than 106,000 people.

“Our job is to provide opportunities and partnerships that help companies and individuals innovate, succeed and grow. This approach delivers more jobs and a stronger economy, and helps support health care, education, housing and other public services that make British Columbia a great place to live and work.”

The Province announced that it is investing over $102.6 million in funding for 75 post-secondary research projects, through the BC Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF). The projects will develop BC’s expertise and innovation in fields such as advanced super-computing and clean technology, to spur job creation, talent development and commercialize innovation.

To attract and retain the best graduate students, $12 million will be invested in graduate degree scholarships over the next three years, to support the priority STEM (science, tech, engineering and mathematics) programs, as well as Indigenous students and regional programs. The Province will also invest in women-in-technology scholarships to inspire a new generation of women to take up science and tech-based professions.

To develop tech talent, $10.5 million will be invested in co-op opportunities and entrepreneurial training for post-secondary students, so they can gain vital hands-on experience to be job-ready when they enter the tech sector.

To help make it easier for tech companies to recruit top international talent to BC, government will expand its Provincial Nominee Program Tech Pilot: priority processing for people in tech occupations (e.g. biotechnologists, software engineers and web developers).

“Investing in innovation is the best thing we can do to set our province up for success,” said Andrew Weaver, BC Green Party leader. “Technology is driving global growth and has the potential to add value to every sector of BC’s economy. This minority government is a unique opportunity to come together to champion a bold vision for the future of our province, and I am proud to be working in partnership with the government to support our tech sector.”

The B.C. government will unveil a province-wide tech strategy next year that will help provide all people with the ability to work and prosper in the communities they call home. In turn, the Province will invest in health care, education, housing and other public services that make BC a great place to live and work.

The third-annual #BCTECH Summit May 14-16 has been hosted by the BC Government in partnership with Innovate BC (a crown agency) which encourages the development and application of advanced or innovative technologies to meet the needs of BC industry.


 

Premier John Horgan at Victoria Chamber of Commerce event at Crystal Garden, May 15 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Wednesday, May 16 ~ VICTORIA. BC Premier John Horgan has released the following statement on the federal government’s Trans Mountain pipeline investor compensation:

“We are standing up for British Columbia’s environment, economy and our coast against the threat of a bitumen spill, and we are doing so entirely within our rights.

“The federal finance minister is trying to use our government as an excuse, as the federal government puts taxpayer money on the line to backstop risks to private investors, while completely ignoring the risks to BC. The fact is, we’ve been issuing permits in a fair and timely manner, and have proposed new regulations that are now referred to court to confirm our jurisdiction.

“We are acting well within BC’s rights to defend our environment, and the tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity that depend on it.”

Yesterday during a speech at a Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Victoria, Horgan took the opportunity to express positive support for Alberta Premier Rachel Notley as a fellow NDP leader, acknowledging it’s her job to represent the economic interests of her province (vis-a-vis the pipeline issue). But he added: “I am not convinced that we are prepared to deal with the consequences of a diluted bitumen spill in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, around the Gulf Islands and in Burrard Inlet. We need to find a balance — my responsibility is to the people in this room and the people who are coming here “attracted by the pristine environment” (i.e. tourism).

Horgan reiterated his view that raw bitumen should go to refineries in Canada “to help people” in the local economy instead of being shipped overseas. He said that the federal 10-year commitment of $1.5 billion on three coasts of the largest coastline on the planet is not a lot of funding should anything go wrong.

Today NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said on behalf of the federal NDP that “billions of tax dollars are being used to write a blank cheque to a Texas oil company and its shareholders”.

While a handout from government seems like it should sweeten the pot, business pundits have suggested that a corporation does not always welcome the hand of government in their accounting processes or boardroom.

Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also issued Canada’s official welcome and congratulations on the birth of the third child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The timing is notable because the Prime Minister’s news release highlights the royal couple’s 2016 visit to Haida Gwaii, noting the pristine environment of BC that was visited there during the tour. In other words, a nod to the importance of BC’s pristine coast.


 

Wednesday, May 16 ~ SOOKE. Tonight the Sooke community will see the architectural designs for their new library. At last. [View this article on its own page]

Although a new library for the growing town has been officially at the top of the priority list for the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) board since about 2012, the procession of steps to getting a new building has been plagued with financial delays and political complications, even missteps. Meanwhile, a rented premise (considered a costly alternative) has continued on Anna Marie Road within town centre.

The snags have had mostly to do with finding land upon which to build the library (and all the politics involved with that). VIRL puts up libraries at their own cost but the municipality must provide the land. The VIRL business model to produce libraries this way pushed their 27 or so member communities into a new paradigm of doing business.

Sooke Council for all their pontification about supporting the community, for years seemingly gagged at the thought of providing land for free (despite the obvious benefits of moving ahead with a facility that serves a broad range or purposes in a community, well beyond loaning out books).

The District of Sooke Mayor in 2011-2014 was Wendal Milne; the mayor since 2014 has been Maja Tait. Through all this period, the District of Sooke rep to the VIRL board has been Sooke Councillor Kerrie Reay.

Finally a few years ago — with some political muscle input by Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director Mike Hicks at the VIRL board table — the District of Sooke bought a section of previous farmland along Wadams Way (which runs parallel to Sooke Road). Called ‘Lot A’, that land is now a crown jewel for the District of Sooke (positioned behind Evergreen Shopping Centre it could effectively expand town centre). Within Lot A, a section has been shaved off for VIRL to get on with building a new 10,000 sq.ft. facility, a swath of natural growth forest felled and all.

Tonight at 5:30 pm the proposed new architectural designs for the new library will be unveiled in the humble digs that are the lower level of Sooke Community Hall. At 6:30 pm (to 8 pm) VIRL will make a formal presentation and take questions. Open to the public. Given the local interest in this long-awaited evolution, the downstairs level at the community hall will probably be packed to overflowing.


 

BC Premier John Horgan addressed Chamber of Commerce members in Victoria May 15 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Tuesday, May 15 ~ VICTORIA. [View this article on a separate page]. It was a tough crowd for an NDP Premier — a room packed with about 400 chamber of commerce members and business leaders at the Crystal Garden in downtown Victoria — who at least in part would be expected to take some issue with the left-leaning policies of Premier John Horgan’s NDP government.

In less than one year in office, Horgan has rapidly rolled out numerous policy adjustments and new directions for British Columbia that are changing the socioeconomic landscape of the province in notable ways.

In a nutshell, that’s to make life more affordable for all British Columbians, he is oft heard to say. But that has come with almost seismic shifts in some areas of taxation — some that businesses consider punitive (such as the Employer Health Tax) but others that ‘help’ such as eliminating PST on electricity for businesses by 2019 and reducing the small business tax rate from 2.5% to 2.0%.

A seasoned, relaxed speaker, Horgan was comfortable at the podium but was careful to put a business or economic context around every potentially controversial portion of his 35-minute speech.

He covered the gamut from justifying the BC Speculation Tax and the shift from the Medical Services Program (MSP) to the Employer Health Tax (EHT), to defending his government’s stance spawned by the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project to protect the coastal environmental in the event of an oil spill.

At least twice he emphasized “not social policy but economic policy”, specifically with regard to providing more and better child care, and working to full reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

Victoria MP Murray Rankin was among those who attended the Chamber lunch to hear Premier Horgan’s speech May 15 [West Shore Voice News photo].

“The economy, environment and people are inextricably bound together,” said Horgan, saying that “everybody benefits” from the economic success of addressing all of those socioeconomic components of governing a thriving province like BC. Underpinning that is public education.

“Given the opportunity and tools of education we can achieve anything – the greatest tool at our disposal is public education,” Premier Horgan suggested to the crowd, referencing both K-12 and post-secondary. He was proud to remind the room that one of the first things his government did after taking office in July 2017 was to eliminate tuition fees for adult basic education and English language learning.

In the audience today were several BC Cabinet ministers, including Finance Minister Carole James and Education Minister Rob Fleming. They sat with Premier Horgan at the same table as Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps who at the end of the event presented Horgan with a painting by an indigenous artist from the Cowichan area.

Also present from NDP ranks were Victoria MP Murray Rankin and Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke MP Randall Garrison. Various municipal mayors and councillors attended, including View Royal Mayor David Screech, Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen, Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins, Langford Councillors Lillian Szpak and Denise Blackwell, and Oak Bay Councillor Hazel Braithwaite.

This was a five-Chamber event with members from the Greater Victoria, Saanich Peninsula, WestShore, Sooke Region and Esquimalt Chambers.

Horgan outlined how there is now — thanks to NDP housing policy — the opportunity for post-secondary to build student housing “without coming cap in hand to the treasury board”, as a way to free up housing stock in the community. This also provides housing-supply opportunities for the development and construction communities.

Langford Councillors Lillian Szpak and Denise Blackwell attended the May 15 chamber luncheon [West Shore Voice News photo]

The overall thread of the speech was to demonstrate the potential for productive interface between the social directions unfolding from the NDP and what the business community can do to benefit and prosper through attention to the well-being of people and communities. People who can find affordable places to live are therefore available for employment in high-demand business regions. Families that can access reliable quality child care can then afford for a second parent to join or rejoin the workforce.

Overall the crowd’s mood was polite and attentive. But there likely weren’t many converts to the government’s position on two things of most concernation to vocal leaders in the business community — the BC Speculation Tax and the EHT that is set to replace the outgoing MSP.

Regarding transportation congestion issues in the Greater Victoria area, Horgan was asked if he would support a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). Horgan’s first noted “seeing a failure of the previous government to invest” in transportation solutions, followed by saying that he’s observed with TransLink in Vancouver that large advisory bodies can become “disconnected from the needs of the community and lean to the loudest voice at the table”.

Horgan hopes that BC Transit will “provide public opportunities for people” in Greater Victoria. He favours a non-formal provincial government lead on transportation: “We kinda got it covered here,” he said today, referring to the connections that he and Ministers Fleming, James, Popham and MLA Mitzi Dean have in the community. “We work with the CRD and local mayors and councils to try and deliver services for people,” Horgan said.

One question from the room expressed concern about losing tourism due to the pipeline dispute with Alberta. With reference made to the lunch menu including Alberta short ribs, Horgan did take the opportunity to express positive support for NDP Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, acknowledging it’s her job to represent the economic interests of her province (vis-a-vis the pipeline issue).

“I am not convinced that we are prepared to deal with the consequences of a diluted bitumen spill in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Gulf Islands and Burrard Inlet,” said Horgan. “We need to find a balance — my responsibility is to the people in this room and the people who are coming here” who are “attracted by the pristine environment”. He reiterated his view that raw petroleum should go to refineries in Canada “to help people” instead of being shipped overseas. He said that the federal 10-year commitment of $1.5 billion on three coasts of the largest coastline on the planet is not a lot of funding should anything go wrong.

The big reveal of the lunchtime speech was Horgan’s commitment to making sure something is achieved with the E&N corridor, saying that trains (or an additional lane on Hwy 1) are probably not the solution to getting more commuters to and to the Victoria area core for employment. He said he is committed to “moving people”, and that he is “committed to doing that in the term of this government”.

Horgan was later asked a question from the floor…  would he support formation of a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) which has been proposed at the CRD level. He talked about getting people “out of cars” into public transit, saying it’s good for the economy to move people efficiently and effectively. Afterward, View Royal Mayor David Screech –- whose municipality is squarely in the one of the heaviest commuter traffic through-zones, said he is still in favour of reactivating trains for the E&N.

Randall Garrison, MP said that Horgan spoke directly to the business community about “issues that they care about”, adding that BC has “enviable economic success”. Indeed, Horgan knew what he was up against but he didn’t pander. Rather, he talked about his government’s plan, made arguments in support of stated policies, and answered questions in which he held his ground.

Horgan wrapped up saying he will back next year, as a way of declaring the stability of his government. The NDP (with Greens) is moving forward with many things that in a few years time will see BC and Canada looking back at a provincial socioeconomic canvas painted with new strokes that are intended to open up new opportunities for business, communities and individuals.

~ Article by Mary P Brooke, editor, West Shore Voice News


Large homes on ALR land in Richmond BC. [aerial screenshot – Global TV]

Tuesday, May 15 ~ VICTORIA.  The BC Green Party caucus is calling on the provincial government to take immediate action to stymie speculation on Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) land. The Green Caucus says the vote at Richmond council on Monday evening May 14 demonstrates why provincial action is needed. 

Richmond City Council decided not to reduce the size of so-called ‘megahomes’ built on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). The city has decided to maintain the current maximum size of over 10,000 sq ft and will allow secondary homes of 3,200 sq ft for farm workers on lots size eight- to 25-hectares.

“Mega mansions on ALR land are imperiling our food security, destroying agricultural land and driving up prices well beyond the reach of young farmers,” said BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver in a news release today May 15.

“The provincial government has a number of tools at its disposal that it should immediately use to address the issue of speculation on ALR land,” said Weaver. “These include restricting foreign ownership of ALR land, applying the speculation tax and foreign buyers tax to the ALR, or creating legally binding house size limits. It should use at least one of these immediately to prevent the loss of any more farmland.”

“There is a problem but it’s not just Richmond, this is a problem that’s going across the province,” says BC Agriculture Minster Lana Popham. No changes can be made until a revitalization committee consultation is complete, said Popham.

Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and a former Saanich Councillor, added that local governments have been asking the province to take action for years: “This decision at Richmond Council will drive the price of ALR in their community sky high, it will impact the rest of the province and demonstrates the need for action at the provincial level.”

“We knew 10 years ago we needed to take action on limiting house size and location on ALR land, we called on the government of the day to act. We were not alone and rather than take action the Province has buried this issue in consultation only further increasing pressure on the cost of farmland,” says Olsen. “The issue of speculation driving up land prices is well-documented and its solutions are clear. Delaying action only causes the issue to spiral further out of control — last year, Richmond alone lost 50 farms due to the construction of mega-mansions on farmland. I urge the Minister in the strongest terms to recognize to take immediate action before any more farmland is lost.”


Canada playing USA in the 2nd game on Sunday May 13 at Westhills Stadium in Langford. [screenshot]

Sunday, May 13 ~ LANGFORD.  The 2018 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens wrapped up earlier today under sunshine and blue skies, before a packed stadium of 6,070 over the two-day tournament this Mother’s Day weekend at Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC.

New Zealand emerged the tournament winner, for their 2nd tournament win on the 5-stop HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.

Canada placed 5th today with a decisive win in their final match of the day against Ireland, moving them into 4th place in the Series standings with one tournament remaining in Paris, France on June 8-10.

Playing well for Canada were Charity Williams who four times ran the length of the field and Bianca Farella who got Canada ahead in the 2nd game today. Some crucial mistakes were made in this tournament by Canada’s team Canada Ghislaine Landry (returning from a hamstring injury that saw her sit out the games in Japan in April), including two kicks that fell short of the 10-metre line.

For post tournament coverage and full tournament results visit www.canadasevens.com or www.worldrugby.org

Canada Women’s Sevens team captain Ghislaine Landry in Langford May 13 [screenshot]

“Rugby Canada would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the Community of Langford and all the supportive fans who came out to cheer on not only our Canadian women, but all of the outstanding teams that delivered inspiring and entertaining performances throughout the weekend,” said Allen Vansen, CEO, Rugby Canada.

“Congratulations to New Zealand on their well-deserved win, and thank you to all of our partners, sponsors and volunteers for their continued support,” said Vansen.

The HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens will return to Langford next year on May 11 & 12, 2019 for the 5th and final year of the current Series cycle. Rugby Canada is actively bidding for another four years of both the men’s and women’s HSBC Canada Sevens tournaments, and hope to receive approval on their bids by Fall 2018.

The 2018 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens has been a two-day tournament held May 12-13, 2018, hosted at the home of Canadian Rugby at Westhills Stadium in Langford BC, and featured 12 of the world’s top women’s rugby sevens teams on Canadian soil.

The HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens is the fourth stop in a five-stop world tour as part of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. Sevens rugby is a fast-paced and shorter version of traditional rugby with only seven players per side. It has built a huge international audience through the success of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, which attracts large audiences in markets around the world.

The 2018 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series kicked off in Dubai on November 30th. Find the entire 5-stop tour at www.worldrugby.org/sevens-series/series-info


Line painting has begun on Vancouver Island [photo – Hwy 14, April 2018 – by West Shore Voice News]

Friday, May 11 ~ BC. Road crews have started line painting throughout the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, with higher-quality glass beads included in the paint formula, so drivers can see brighter, more reflective road lines.

“Road markings need to not only survive, but shine on B.C.’s West Coast, especially at night and in rainy conditions,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “The ministry’s top priority is making sure our roads and highways are as safe as possible.

By including larger, higher quality glass beads in our paint mix, it will be easier for people to see our lines when it’s dark and the weather is bad.”

Painting has begun, and this week work is taking place in the Pemberton area, Victoria and Duncan. In total, more than 3,000 km of roads and highways will be painted in the region this year.

Adding glass beads to line paint greatly increases reflectivity. The larger and higher-quality beads to be used in second coats this year in the region will provide 20% more reflectivity than the previous formula.

Also, requests for proposal were recently issued through BCBid for the next Pavement Marking Service Agreements, which will go into effect on December 16, 2018. The following changes are being made to improve on the current agreements:
* 20% more lines painted annually throughout the province
* Use of larger glass beads for increased reflectivity and visibility at night, and thicker paint for longer-lasting pavement marking in coastal areas
* Second coat application in areas that experience premature wear
* Enhanced contractor monitoring and auditing, to maintain consistent performance

There are five pavement marking service areas in the province: Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, Thompson-Cariboo, Okanagan-Kootenay and Northern Region. Each of the upcoming pavement marking service agreements, which were last tendered in 2013, are for five-year terms, and include an optional two-year extension.

The ministry works closely with contractors to continually test new paint formulations, and products to ensure that high-performing, environmentally friendly formulations are used in BC.

Private contractors are responsible for repainting more than 20,000 km every year, on highways and provincially owned side roads in BC, using close to one million litres of paint and 500,000 kg of glass beads.

This work starts every spring, and continues through the summer and into the fall.  www.tranbc.ca


 

Thetis Lake Regional Park – Pistol Range Remediation Project (CRD)

Friday, May 11 ~ VICTORIA. CRD Restores Former Pistol Range at Thetis Lake Regional Park to Naturalized Park

The Capital Regional District (CRD) has completed a project to remediate and restore the former pistol range at Thetis Lake Regional Park to naturalized park land.

“This former shooting range site was deemed contaminated under provincial legislation and required remediation due to metals from bullets and casings,” said CRD Parks Committee Chair David Screech. “The CRD has now addressed the contamination,” he said in a news release.

The contaminated site was remediated in 2014. Surface soils were excavated, and soil berms dismantled. Restoration work from 2016-2017 improved surface water drainage and soil conditions. Native grasses, shrubs and over 700 trees were planted. Invasive species plants that had spread from illegal disposal of garden waste were removed and continue to be monitored and controlled while trees get established.

For over 100 years, police forces, security companies and gun clubs used this area as a firing range. The site was transferred from the City of Victoria to the CRD in 1994 as part of Thetis Lake Regional Park. Pistol range activities ceased in 1999. The area contaminated by the activities of the pistol range was 0.75 hectares.

The total cost of the project was $736,000. It was funded through CRD project reserve funds and a $75,000 BC Brownfields Renewal grant.

For current photos of the site, as well as the remediation and restoration, visit www.crd.bc.ca/project/capital-projects/thetis-lake-remediation-project


 

Thursday, May 10 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND. Island Health Celebrates 4 Wins at UVic Nursing Awards. Island Health nurses go above and beyond every day as they provide excellent health and care to patients, clients and residents on Vancouver Island.

During Nursing Week (May 7 – 13), Island Health is celebrating nurses who also teach and are being recognized for their leadership in training nursing students. The 12th annual UVic Nursing Awards were held last night, May 9, and Island Health staff earned four awards.

Nurse Practitioner Preceptor of the Year Award – Lynn Guengerich, a nurse practitioner in pediatrics from the West Shore Health Unit, and Joanna Rippin, a nurse practitioner from the Victoria Health Unit who works mainly with immigrants and refugees, are the co-recipients of the Nurse Practitioner Preceptor of the Year Award. This award is given to nurse practitioners who have made a significant and substantial contribution to nurse practitioner student learning. Nurse Practitioner preceptors work with student nurse practitioners in a one-on-one setting, and allow the students to gain experience in their education.

Preceptor of the Year Award – Laura McDonald, a nurse at the Saanich Health Unit, was awarded the Preceptor of the Year Award. Laura has been a nurse since 2013. She was recognized as Preceptor of the Year for her excellence in guiding fourth year nursing students to reach the full scope of their training.

Collaborative Learning Unit Award of Excellence – Victoria General Hospital’s 6D north acute medicine unit, led by manager Trapper Edison, won the UVic School of Nursing’s Collaborative Learning Unit Award of Excellence. This award is given to units that exceed expectations in promoting student learning, serve as outstanding role models, foster the student nurse role among colleagues and demonstrate excellence in teaching.

Field Guide of the Year Award – Christina Berlanda, the manager of general surgery, women’s health, breast health and the vascular access team, won the Field Guide of the Year Award. When taking on student nurses, Berlanda is interested in giving them a fulsome experience that includes leadership training.

“On behalf of everyone at Island Health we are proud of our award-winners for their leadership in training nurses of tomorrow,” said Dawn Nedzelski, Island Health’s Chief Nursing Officer and Chief of Professional Practice. “They are outstanding role models and they continue to demonstrate excellence in teaching while delivering quality and exceptional care to our patients, clients and residents.”


 

The Women’s Rugby Sevens team captains at Royal Roads University campus May 10 [West Shore Voice News photo] From left: Brazil, Fiji, England, Spain, Russia, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, USA, Ireland, Japan.

Thursday, May 10 ~ WEST SHORE.  The Women’s Rugby Sevens team captains did their official group photo on the croquet lawn at Royal Roads University (RRU) this afternoon, May 10. The afternoon was sunny and a big cloud that threatened rain held off from raining on this parade.

These athletes from 12 countries are by default hosted by the Canadian home team that is based out of Langford. Players are staying at Bear Mountain Resort and the Four Points Sheraton, and getting to see the growing bustling town on their way to the various community appearances this week (at schools around Greater Victoria) and practice sessions at Westhills Stadium in Langford.

“Playing at home is unique for us,” says Canada Women’s Rugby Sevens team captain Ghislaine Landry, as the team is now based entirely out of Langford at the new Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre in Langford. “It’s exciting to get out in front of the local fans,” she told media after the photo shoot. “We love to live and train here, it’s fun for us,” she said.

Landry explained that there is a “level of pride” to be operating from an established location, saying the centralization of Rugby Canada in the Victoria area started about six years ago.  As Canada’s team captain, Landry ventured to say that when the Women’s Rugby Sevens tournament comes to Langford it’s everyone’s “favourite spot”.

All of the Canadian team players are staying with the other players at the local hotel venues. “It’s part of the tournament experience,” Landry mused.

When asked about what was considered a poor showing for Canada when they played in Japan last month, of course the response was with positive bravado: “This weekend we’ll show that we have trained hard,” said the Canadian team captain.

A bit of tournament analysis by Landry when asked about the competition: “New Zealand and Australia are top teams. And France has a great shot. Spain had a good showing last game.”

The 12 countries that are represented in the Women’s Rugby Sevens circuit are (team captains): Canada (Ghislaine Landry), Australia (Shannon Parry), New Zealand (Sarah Goss), France (Fanny Horta), USA (Nicole Heavirland), Ireland (Lucy Mulhall), Japan (Chiharu Nakamura), Russia (Alena Mikhaltsova), Spain (Barbra Pla), England Abbie Brown), Fiji (Ana Roqica) and Brazil (Raquel Kochhann).

Rain began to fall onto the well-trimmed lawns of the RRU campus outside Hatley Castle in Colwood, just as the media interviews wrapped up.

The 2018 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens tournament will be held at Westhills Stadium in Langford this Mother’s Day weekend, on Saturday May 12 and Sunday May 13.  Tickets are still available to purchase online at www.canadasevens.com/womens . Two day tournament passes are available for $49. Single day tickets for Saturday or Sunday are available for $30 or the group rate of $25 (10 or more tickets purchased). Anyone who uses the code MOMPLUS3 can get four general-admission tickets for the price of three.


 

Kids get some rugby skill-training with Canada Women’s Sevens team captain Ghislane Landry, May 4 at Westhills Stadium [West Shore Voice News photo]

Wednesday, May 9 ~ LANGFORD. So much to do this Mother’s Day weekend in the west shore!

Single-day tickets for the 2018 HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens on May 12-13 at Westhills Stadium in Langford can be purchased through www.canadasevens.com or by calling the Ticket Rocket Box Office at 1-855-842-7575 from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

General Admission tickets are $30, with a reduced-price point of $25 for groups of 10 or more, and $35 for select Reserved seating.

In its fourth year at Westhills Stadium in Langford, the HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens will also offer a unique promotion in honour of Mothers’ Day on Sunday May 13. Fans can buy three GA tickets and get a fourth ticket free when using the code MOMPLUS3 .

Organizers are encouraging fans to include this weekend of sport and celebration in the family plans this coming Mother’s Day.


 

School playground funding has been announced by the BC Government, with 51 schools getting new playgrounds by Sept 2018.

Tuesday, May 8 ~ VICTORIA. Students at 51 schools in BC will have new playgrounds to use in September, as part of a new playground fund that takes fundraising pressure off parents.

Introduced during a media event by Minister of Education Rob Fleming, the announcement was made by Premier John Horgan at Quadra Elementary in Victoria during the lunch hour with the happy background sound of kids at play.

“All students deserve quality, safe and accessible playgrounds at school, regardless of how much their parents can fundraise,” said Premier Horgan. “That’s why we’re lifting the burden off of parents by investing $5 million today, and every year moving forward, to build playgrounds where they are needed most.”

“Playgrounds make a real difference, for fitness, long term health care costs, and PAC’s who spend an inordinate amount of time focused on raising money for playgrounds,” Horgan said during the outdoor announcement.

Quadra Elementary (in SD61) will receive $105,000 for an accessible playground. In the west shore, the school getting a fund of $105,000 this year for a playground upgrade is Ecole Poirier Elementary in Sooke (SD62). There is no SD63 (Saanich) school on the list in this first round.

This funding is part of a new, ongoing Playground Equipment Program providing up to $5 million each year to school districts to buy new or replacement playground equipment. This year, 26 schools are receiving $90,000 for a standard playground, and 25 schools are receiving $105,000 for a universally accessible playground.

Districts applied for the funding in April 2018. Playgrounds are being funded based on greatest need. Schools currently without a playground got priority, followed by schools where the existing playground is aging. Districts not receiving funding this year are eligible for next year. This year’s list: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Playground_fund.pdf

Basic playground at Ecole Poirier Elementary (2015 photo)

“I’ve heard from parents that they need relief from fundraising tens of thousands of dollars for playground equipment – that’s a lot of bake sales and bottle drives for today’s busy parents,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Today, we’re delivering this fund to help parents, and provide access to communities that don’t have the fundraising capacity to buy the play equipment students need.”

Generally, schools’ parent advisory councils (PACs) have to fundraise large sums of money for new and replacement playground equipment. Schools without that capability are often left without playgrounds. PACs have had to deal with fundraising for a wide range of school needs since cutbacks under the BC Liberal government during the mid-2000s. By this decade, PACs had just resigned themselves to fundraising for things that years ago (and in other provinces) were provided by the government school-funding.

“This new program will alleviate some of the inequities in parent fundraising, and enable PACs to strengthen their advisory and advocacy roles,” said Jen Mezei, president, BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. “Parents have advocated for this for over a decade, and we thank the government for the ongoing commitment. We believe that safe and accessible playgrounds should not be dependent on a school community’s ability to raise funds, and for too long have felt the burden to ensure schools and school communities have safe and engaging play spaces.”

Budget 2018 includes a record $2 billion in school capital funding over the next three years, to invest in building new schools in growing communities, fixing aging schools and making schools safer for students in the event of a large earthquake.

Playgrounds are important for children’s development and learning. They encourage outdoor physical activity, and help students learn how to share, work together, overcome challenges and be creative. Outdoor play can help students focus and learn more effectively in the classroom.

 


 

Belmont Residences sale centre opened May 5, 2018 in Langford [West Shore Voice News photo]

Saturday, May 5 ~ LANGFORD. Under bright sunny skies on Saturday May 5, a steady stream of drop-in visitors came to the Belmont Residences presentation centre on Division Avenue in Langford, 1 to 3 pm.

Otherwise surrounded by the churned-up ground of a construction zone, the sales centre is a bright modern open space, now open six days a week (Mon-Thurs and Sat-Sun), from 12 noon to 5 pm. A three-person sales team will always be on hand.

Appointments are recommended but drop-ins are welcome, says on-site Project Coordinator Cathy Noel.

The sales centre includes a complete 2-bedroom, 2-bath furnished show suite. The layout of the B1 floorplan brings you directly into the kitchen in view of the inline living/dining room area.

About 80% of the 80 units in the Phase 1 of Belmont Residences include the ‘flex room’ says Belmont Residences Sales Director Peter Gaby. There are three different 2-bedroom+flex floorplan styles, says Marcela Corzon, Director of Development, Ledcor Properties Inc.

‘Flex Space’ in 2-bedroom unit at Belmont Residences [West Shore Voice News photo]

The flex space (approx 70 sq ft) is likely to be a popular feature, situated immediately upon entry to the suite. In the show suite it’s set up as a small home office but could be used for a variety of purposes such as sewing room, exercise space, or storage.

Each of the Phase 1 of Belmont Residences condo strata units will have their own vehicle parking space. Natural gas and hot water will be included in the strata fees. Heating is by electric baseboard.

Phase 1 pre-sales start around June 9, with occupancy targeted for the first few months of 2020, says Gaby. Phase 2 will offer 90 condo units, followed by an apartment building with 156 rental units, and later on a few townhomes.


 

Kids try out rugby skills with two of Canada’s Women’s Sevens players: Julia Greenshields (left) and team captain Ghislane Landry. [West Shore Voice News photo, May 4 2018]

Friday, May 4 ~ LANGFORD. For fun and skill-building, about 35 youth from around Greater Victoria took part in a rubgy clinic at Westhills Stadium in Langford on Friday afternoon, May 4. The activity for girls and boys was free. Parents came to watch.

The kids had fun and professional rugby players from Canada Women’s Sevens had a chance to interact with potential new athletes.

And it was a ramp-up to the 2018 HSBC Women’s Sevens Rugby Tournament game coming up May 12-13 at Westhills Stadium by which ticket sales are one way for spectators to donate to KidSport when they purchase tickets online. www.canadasevens.com/womens

The KidSport program helps remove financial barriers to participation in a wide variety of sports, explains KidSport Greater Victoria executive director Jill Shaw. She says that last year two girls were funded by KidSport for their registration in rugby that summer, thanks to donations from ticket-purchasers in May 2017 that amounted to about $500.

“Last year KidSport overall funded a total of $400,000 to pay for sport registrations for 1,400 youth,” said Shaw, out on the Westhills Stadium field on Friday.

Canada Women’s Sevens team captain Ghislane Landry was happy to participate in the youth clinic. “We train so hard, sometimes we forget about the big picture. Activities like today are about growing the grassroots of sport,” Landry told West Shore Voice News. “It’s important to be interacting with the community,” she said before joining a group of eager youth to starting tossing around the rugby ball.

Back on February 27, the new Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre was officially opened on Glen Lake Road behind Westhills Stadium. Landry said at the time that the new home for rugby players would be a boon to the sport. Today she said: “Before, we were spread out across the country. This way we feed off each other and this leads to good things for the program.”

Drills, games and skill-building exercises continued for about an hour in the warmish weather under slightly overcast skies, familiarizing them with the game of rugby. The clinic was open to all interested youth.

The HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens two-day tournament next weekend at Westhills Stadium will feature 12 of the world’s top women’s rubgy seven’s teams. It’s the fourth stop in a five-stop world tour series. Rugby Sevens is a fast-paced, shorter version of traditional rugby with only seven players per side.

The 2018 series kicked off in Dubai at the end of November, followed by Sydney Australia in January 2018, Kitakyushu Japan in April 2018, now Langford next week Sat May 12 and Sun May 13, and finishes up in Paris June 8 to 10. https://www.worldrugby.org/sevens-series-seriesinfo

 

 


 

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